3-Year-Old Missing for 3 Days Found ‘Alive and Well’ in Canadian Forest: 'It's a Great Feeling'

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A 3-year-old boy who'd wandered away from his family in Canada and spent three days missing was found "alive and well" in nearby woods, authorities said.

Jude Leyton, who disappeared Sunday around noon, was found sleeping near a beaver pond by search and rescue crews on Wednesday afternoon, Global News Canada reported.

Const. Curtis Dick with Frontenac County Ontario Provincial Police told the outlet that four rescue team members stumbled upon Jude while searching the area for a separate case in South Frontenac.

"This is absolutely the best-case scenario that we could have hoped for," Dick told The Kingston Whig-Standard. "Lots of smiles, very happy time. The teams, both the OPP and the volunteer search and rescue members, when you work that hard for that long, man, it's a great feeling."

Jude was found in good condition, the OPP said in a statement, but was reportedly taken by ambulance to Kingston General Hospital.

Authorities previously said that Jude wandered away from The Bing Retreat on Sunday, a resort owned by his grandfather, into rough terrain with steep climbs, thick woods and poor cell phone reception, according to the Whig-Standard.

Though it remains unclear how, exactly, the toddler survived for 72 hours in the cold and rainy weather, Dick said his weather-appropriate gear likely helped.

"When the officers found Jude, he responded well, he was alert, he was responsive," he told the Whig-Standard. "He was well dressed for the weather. He had a winter jacket on with a heavy wool sweater. He still had his boots on. So he did well for the elements, and so that's one reason he was in such good shape, I believe."

Dick told Global News Canada that Jude was found just under half a mile from where he was last seen, but that the property has a large body of water, which adds to the difficulty in searching it.

"There was a lot of conversations with the family over the past few days by OPP members," he reportedly said. "While we were looking at the reality, we were also maintaining hope. [The parents] are absolutely ecstatic, I don't know how you describe that feeling."

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