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Search for Missing Bend Boy, 8, Ends Happily


A major police search ended successfully Saturday evening when a missing 8-year-old boy was found in good condition at Pilot Butte State Park, about eight hours after he was last seen at his family’s nearby apartment.

Justin Thorold last had been seen around 11 a.m. at his family’s apartment at the Commons at Pilot Butte, 2020 NE Linnea Drive., officers said. The apartments are just east of Pilot Butte State Park, north of Highway 20.

Just before 7 p.m., the word came that a citizen not involved in the search effort found the boy playing with other children two apartment complexes away from his home, and walked him back to his home and waiting, grateful parents. That ended a frantic door-to-door search with Justin’s picture, looking for anyone who might have seen him.

Minutes later, the transmission: “He’s in his dad’s arms,” an officer said. “Nice job, everybody.”

“As a father, and just as a community member, you want this kind of an outcome,” said Bend police Lt. Brian Kindel. “And I’m sure that this probably won’t happen again for him. But you’ve always got to keep track of where your children are at.”

Justin was described as about 50 pounds and about 4 feet tall, with blue eyes and short blonde hair. His parents said he could be mistaken for a child as young as 5.

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue crews assisted in the search.

Police said Justin has medical issues they can’t go into detail about, but the family was extremely worried and the search grew steadily through the afternoon.

Concerned neighbors told NewsChannel 21 they had seen the boy walking around the apartment complex, but usually with his mom or dad — never by himself.

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