Police recount search efforts that went into locating missing Wilbraham children

WILBRAHAM, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – A chilling story found a liberating ending on Tuesday night after two children went missing in Wilbraham. Luckily, both were found safely two hours later.

Concerns arose after the two Wilbraham children failed to return home after walking their dogs in the neighborhood. Several authorities took action to find them and bring them home safely.

“When they didn’t come home, the parents started looking for the children on their own,” said Wilbraham Police Commissioner Shawn Baldwin. “They’re new to the area, only been living here for about a year. When that failed, they contacted us.”

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The parents of the brother and sister duo, aged 11 and 15, called the police after their children walked their dogs and failed to return home.

The Wilbraham Police Department set up a command center at the local middle school and immediately called several surrounding authorities.

“We brought in many area departments,” said Captain Baldwin. “East Longmeadow Police came out with their drone and UTV. We used the drone. The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department has a bloodhound. He came out immediately and we started the chase.”

The two were eventually found by a neighbor who knew the trail they were on.

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“We actually had a 911 caller who was familiar with the area who found the kids, and our dispatcher was able to use a computer program that tracked the 911 caller so we knew exactly where they were,” said Captain Baldwin. “We had them on our laptop and brought them out of the woods.”

Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District Superintendent John Provost said they notified the school community as soon as they heard what had happened.

“If anyone in the community knew their whereabouts or anyone wanted to help, they were given the police department phone number to share information,” Superintendent Provost said.

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Their crisis team met on Wednesday to decide how they would discuss this with their students. They decided to highlight how their community came together, but also to remind students not to speculate about what happened when their classmates went missing.

“Basically, our focus has been on not getting into speculation and emphasizing the strength of our community and how good results can be achieved when neighbors work with neighbors,” Superintendent Provost said.

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