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Family says they're grateful to community for 3-year-old's safe return home

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Posted at 5:40 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 22:20:06-04

MADISON COUNTY — Three-year-old Abdul Agboola was full of energy on Thursday.

The little boy was seen running around and playing with his two older sisters just 24 hours after he was found. The family decided to keep the three kids home from school to spend time together after the terrifying day they shared on Wednesday when Abdul went missing early that morning, triggering a massive 10-hour search in Madison County.

Abdul’s mother, Khadijat Agboola, was at work when her son went missing around 2 a.m. His family believes he woke up when he heard his father walk into the bathroom. Abdul got out of bed to go look for his father. After it was discovered the boy was missing, the family looked at their Nest doorbell camera and figured out he walked out of the house.

"He just woke up and was wandering around looking for his dad and came out. We saw him through the camera and he came outside stood there crying and shouting, "Daddy! Daddy!" and then went across the street," Khadijat said.

More than a hundred people including first responders from all over the area, and community volunteers searched for the little boy.

Abdul’s older sister Azeemat said at first she wasn’t that nervous, assuming he would come home soon. Once her brother had been missing for several hours she started to get nervous.

“When people started coming and saying how stuff could’ve happened to him, maybe he got hypothermia or something like that I started getting really scared,” she said.

Khadijat said it’s hard to describe how she felt while he was missing, "It was terrible. A lot was going through my mind.”

The mother of three worried her youngest might have encountered an animal or would catch frostbite.

“He was outside alone in the cold. No jacket on, no socks on. And it was really cold in the middle of the night. It was really terrible. It was a horrible experience,” she said.

Abdul was found just before noon on Wednesday. An EMS worker who was helping with traffic control during the search heard a faint wimper and walked across the street to find the toddler curled up in a ditch. The little boy had wandered more than a quarter mile from his home.

Khadijat said when they met up with the ambulance he reached out to her right away. “It was like he just wanted to hold me,” she said.

Abdul was taken to the hospital where doctors ran some tests and did a few x-rays. They determined he was okay, and focused on warming him up.

"It was just hypothermia because his skin was so cold, his whole body was so cold,” Khadijat said.

The Agboola’s said they are so grateful to the community for the tremendous amount of support they received when Abdul went missing. The family just moved to the area from Muncie about a month ago. Khadijat explained she’s glad this incident happened here in a community so willing to help others.

“I really appreciate the entire community. I really appreciate them. I thank everybody. I thank the fire department, the sheriff’s department, the police department, everybody I really appreciate everybody. I appreciate everybody in the community,” Khadijat said.

Just to be safe, the family installed an alarm system on their home right when they got home from the hospital on Wednesday. The alarm is triggered any time a door opens or closes. They hope this will help prevent something like this from happening again.