A missing Fort Worth boy was found safe Wednesday morning, approximately 14 hours after he was last seen at the playground of his apartment complex.
A Fort Worth police officer located 8-year-old Dieudonne Babutu at about 8 a.m. inside an apartment at the Ladera Palms.
According to a department spokesperson, the belief is that neither the child nor the people he was staying with realized that police were searching for him.
More than two dozen police officers searched the apartment complex in the 4500 block of Campus Drive all night, systematically going door-to-door in an effort to find Babutu.
In addition, the department brought in its helicopter to search the sprawling complex of buildings from above, as well as a team of search dogs that were deployed shortly after sunrise.
The parents of the missing child contacted police after they realized their son was nowhere to be seen at the playground and he was also not at the apartments of any of his friends where he was believed to have gone.
“I can’t say what the parents would have or should have done. I know from speaking to them they did have a bird’s eye view on him [at the playground]. I know with my own children, I watch them closely. I’m a police officer. I watch them very closely. But there are some times when I’m not able to keep a 100 percent eye on them,” said Fort Worth Police Officer Buddy Caldaza.
Caldaza predicted that the child would certainly have some explaining to do with respect to his parents. But he smiled at the thought of the reunion that surely happened once the child had been located.
“I was actually able to witness the Mom run down the stairs and, just, the joy on her face was absolutely phenomenal,” Caldaza said.