What Every Parent Needs to Know If They Turn Around & Their Child Has Gone Missing

oliver's outings family

Traveling with L.O.s can be challenging in and of itself. But finding yourself in a situation where you've turned around and your kid has disappeared might just be one of the most terrifying moments you'll ever experience as a parent. Now, an aunt named Vicky Hamilton-Ross has taken to her blog, Oliver's Outings to share how this happened to her brother Alan Dawes' family. Thankfully, they managed to track down their little boy, and the strategy they used to find him is something every parent should have in their back pocket.

  • In her post, Vicky detailed the day her then 4-year-old nephew Jake Dawes went missing. 

    Oliver's Outings family

    "Jake was just four years old at the time, and like every other child, he knew not to ever talk to strangers or leave his parents when out, so what went wrong?" Vicky explained in the blog post. "The whole family were at a beach event in Bournemouth. It was very busy so Lucinda (his mum) was holding his hand. Jake is a shy boy so had no interest in leaving her side anyway."

    She shared that the pair "stopped to look at a stall, and she let go of his hand to pick something up, it was just a couple of minutes, if that." But when she looked around to take his hand, he wasn't there.

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  • Of course she was beside herself, but she tried to stay calm. And serendipitously, an army cadet who was stewarding the event spied Lucinda.

    "He immediately asked what had happened and who she was looking for," Vicky shared. "He wasted no time and himself and the other guys stewarding started shouting, 'We are looking for a boy. He is four years old, blond and in a red T-shirt. Have you seen him?' They repeated this loudly and constantly as they covered the areas nearby."

  • Vicky noted that it was the "quick timing and detail they shouted" which "undoubtedly saved" the little boy.

    It took 15 minutes, which must have felt like an absolute eternity to the family, but they eventually found him down the beach. And that's when the 4-year-old explained the chilling reason he disappeared ... 

    "He’s just a little boy who wandered off, you are thinking? Unfortunately not," Vicky wrote. "The detail Jake gave would make any parents blood run cold. 'There was a bald man in a white T-shirt, he said he would take me to see a real rocket ship.' He wasn’t inclined to lie as a child, and this seemed very genuine."

  • "It’s awful to think men like this are around and near our children but they are and sadly some get away with it," Vicky concluded.

    But the fact that they had been shouting a description of Jake "and that he was lost, it meant the guy couldn’t leave the beach without being spotted, so he just left Jake and walked away," Vicky explained. 

    In retrospect, she is urging every parent to do this immediately, if they find themselves in the same position. "Even if you suspect they are just round the corner," she noted. "What’s the worst that could happen, you are slightly embarrassed because they hadn’t gone anywhere? It's well worth that risk."

    The bottom-line: "I truly hope none of you are ever in this situation but if you are then just shout, loud and clear, who you are looking for and what they look like. Don’t be afraid to ask people to help you in other directions too."

    The Dawes continue to travel around the world and document their adventures on 100 Bucket List Adventures. Vicky reports, "They are currently travelling around Europe with the boys." It's truly admirable to see that they haven't let this scary experience hold them back. With hope, sharing what happened to Jake -- and how he was found -- will preempt a similar turn of events from occurring to another family.