(NewsNation) — A missing 3-year-old from Montana spent days alone in the wilderness before being found alive, according to authorities.
Lincoln County Sheriff Darren Short revealed that the child may have slept in a lawnmower bag.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office in Montana said it originally got a report Friday from a concerned neighbor about a missing child in Bull Lake, south of Troy, Montana.
Deputies determined that the child had already been missing for at least two hours by the time they learned of his disappearance. The 3-year-old was last seen playing with his family dog outside his home that Friday afternoon.
Authorities searched for the toddler for two days, with their efforts hampered by weather conditions.
“On 06/04 two Montana Air National Guard helicopters and drones from Flathead County and Spokane Police were able to respond, in addition to more dog teams and continued ground and ATV searching,” the sheriff’s office said in a post on its Facebook page. “It was extremely difficult to get the additional air assets into the Bull Lake valley due to very poor weather conditions which consisted of rain, low visibility, and low ceiling.”
In addition, searchers were initially given an inaccurate clothing description, the sheriff’s office said.
The child had wandered 2.4 miles away from home before a couple heard him whimpering from a shed in the woods.
Short said that he believes that once thunderstorms in the area started, the boy knew to take shelter. He was found in Sanders County, Montana, on Sunday.
“I truly believe that he took cover in that shed from Friday evening until he was found on Sunday,” Short said during a Tuesday appearance on NewsNation’s “Banfield.”
Besides being hungry, thirsty, and cold, the boy was “in good spirits and apparently healthy,” according to the sheriff’s office.
Short also said the child was basically “in a state of shock” when he was found.
The 3-year-old was taken to Cabinet Peaks Medical Center for evaluation.