HUNTINGTON, W. Va. (WKYT) – Family members of Kenneth Howard say this has been a rollercoaster of emotions that led to a very happy ending. Now, they are ready to get back to normal.
Kenneth Howard is now recovering at the Cabell Huntington Hospital in West Virginia. (Photo: WKYT/Nick Oliver)
“He’s really not said anything besides drink,” said Vicky Howard, Kenneth’s aunt.
Following three days in the woods, the 22-month-old boy is now spending his days at Cabell Huntington Hospital in West Virginia after his dramatic rescue.
Vicky Howard said he is recovering from dehydration, swelling, and several tick bites. He’s also taking part in multiple health tests. So far, she says doctors haven’t discovered any serious problems.
“He looks great! We are just happy to have him back," she said.
It's good news for a child who survived three nights outdoors with little clothing.
WKYT reached out to Lexington ER Doctor Ryan Stanton. Stanton said it is surprising the toddler isn't suffering from issues associated with hypothermia.
"I assume the kid at 22 months is not potty-trained, so he's sitting there in a wet, and likely soiled garment of some sort, so extra cooling - a lot of extra losses in temperature from that," Stanton said.
Right now, Stanton said the biggest concern is the tick bites and what can come from them.
"Tick-borne illnesses have the potential of being an issue for this child and honestly at his age, he doesn't have a great immune system for dealing with it," Stanton said. "So, that will be interesting to see if that was a consideration or if they're going with a watchful waiting-type approach or treat for the potential of exposure to tick-borne illnesses."
Questions are still up in the air to how this happened, but family members aren’t in a rush to find the answers just yet. Right now, they’re focusing on a new day filled with new opportunities for Kenneth.
“There’s not words to describe that feeling when he was found. I’ve never been one to believe in miracles, but once you witness one you’ll never go back to not believing. There’s not words to describe how grateful we are.”
While the Howard’s wait for doctor’s orders, they’re taking time to sit back and thank everyone that helped, from prayers to actual boots on the ground, all in a letter written by his parents.
The family tells WKYT they plan to be at the hospital another night, before taking Kenneth back home.