A visit to a holiday corn maze turned into a truly scary scenario for a 3-year-old boy after police say he was left behind by his parents, who didn’t realize until the next day.
A good Samaritan is being credited with escorting the child to staff members at the Crazy Corn Maze in West Jordan, Utah, after finding him alone and scared around 7:40 p.m. Monday, West Jordan police told HuffPost.
“He was upset and crying and really scared,” the maze’s owner, Kendall Schmidt, told local station Fox 13. “It was a roller coaster, but you try not to panic. You try not to think of the worst.”
Employees walked around with a bullhorn, calling out for the child’s parents. The child eventually was taken to an off-duty officer’s car where he was distracted with a movie, Schmidt said.
To the staff’s surprise, the maze closed but without the boy’s parents coming forward. He was eventually taken to the Division of Child and Family Services. Roughly 12 hours later — on Tuesday morning — the child’s parents called the police, reporting him as missing.
Sgt. Joe Monson with the West Jordan Police Department said many questions remain unanswered but they’re thankful that the good Samaritan took it upon herself to make sure he was OK.
“It could have been a different story,” he told HuffPost, while noting that temperatures in the area can dip into the 30s at night.
As far as what happened, the child’s parents were described as living in a dwelling with multiple families and several little children.
“They left with so many and came back one less,” he said.
Asked if he had heard of anything like this happening before, he said it’s not uncommon to get reports of missing children at big events, though the kids usually aren’t missing for that long.
He confirmed that an investigation is ongoing as of Wednesday.
A spokesperson for Utah’s Department of Child and Family Services, reached by HuffPost, was unable to comment on the current whereabouts of the child or his condition, citing privacy laws.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.