Missing Toddler With Autism Found With Family Dog, Mom Arrested for Neglect

A missing toddler was found locked inside a truck, with his trusty dog keeping watch, hours after he wandered away from his house, authorities said.

Little William Odom, who has autism, apparently left his Mississippi home wearing only a diaper, accompanied by the family’s pup, Jezebel. He walked for about a quarter of a mile, then climbed inside a truck and locked the door, according to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office.

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His mother, 21-year-old Chelsea Noble, was later arrested for child neglect. It was the second time the child had been reported missing to the sheriff’s department, authorities said. Noble was home when the boy wandered away, authorities said.

Noble was freed on $1,500 bail Wednesday. Sheriff Troy Peterson said she was not properly supervising her son.

Deputies were called at about 10:30 a.m. and an extensive search was launched with authorities riding ATVs through the rural woods, Peterson said.

He was discovered some six hours later, by a 10-year-old boy who had just gotten off the school bus. Elementary school student Blake Carroll followed the sound of a honking horn and found the toddler inside the vehicle, Peterson said.

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The boy went running to his uncle for help, and the man reached through a cracked window to open the truck’s door and scoop out the overheated child.

“I gave him a Slim Jim and a Gatorade and he sucked them both down,” Peterson told the Sun Herald. The boy suffered only scratches from walking through the woods.

His dog was just outside the vehicle when William was found.

"Every time we found his footprint, we found the dog footprint right beside him. So the dog traveled with him all day," Peterson said. "When the little boy was found, the dog was still circling the truck and scratching on the truck."

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