'We weren't expecting him to be alive': Crews give new details on Kenneth Howard's discovery

Left: Kenneth Howard (Family Photo)/Right: WKYT
Left: Kenneth Howard (Family Photo)/Right: WKYT(WKYT)
Published: May. 16, 2019 at 2:30 PM EDT
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Crews are releasing new details on the discovery of Magoffin County toddler Kenneth Howard, who was found outside days after disappearing from his home.

The Magoffin County Rescue Squad talked to Howard's mother, who said Kenneth is in good shape. He is no longer needing an IV, and he is eating food.

Prestonsburg firefighter Michael Tussey and Belfry Firefighter Danny Whitt were the first ones to the toddler. Tussey heard Howard crying, and they were able to track him down using his voice. Tussey said he started to cry when he saw Howard's blonde hair and blue eyes because he wasn't expecting him to be alive.

"When I made contact with Kenneth, all he wanted was something to drink," Tussey said.

Wolfe County Search and Rescue Chief John May said Howard was in dangerous conditions. Not only did Howard deal with cold temperatures at night, but there was a confirmed bear sighting in the search area. The area is also known to have coyotes. The terrain was also hazardous, as there are some 30 to 40-foot cliffs.

Rescuers said they were surprised at Howard's demeanor, as he remained very calm upon discovery.

Kentucky State Police say as of Thursday afternoon, investigators believe Howard walked away on his own. Troopers are not suspecting any criminal behavior.

It is unknown exactly when Howard will leave the hospital. Kentucky State Police originally said he was expected to be released Thursday, but the family hasn't said when he will be discharged. Howard is expected to make a full recovery.

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