MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The dad of a 2-year-old who went missing for more than two hours Friday said thank you to the people who helped search for his son.

Parents reported Hunter missing just before 1 p.m. Sky4 was there as the massive search for the toddler ended. Hunter was found a quarter mile from his home in Nessel Township in Chisago County.

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“I saw the helicopters flying over,” said cow calf farmer Lonnie Eklund.

He joined in the search for his missing 2-year-old neighbor, and it didn’t take long for him to stumble upon the boy.

“Come pulling into the shed with the four-wheeler, and he’s standing right over there looking at the bulls…his dog is just sitting right next to him. He smiles and says ‘hi,'” Eklund said. “I go ‘Wow, that’s terrific.’ So I called 911, and then the police came over and picked him up.”

That find led to a flurry of activity.

Police and an ambulance arrived to check Hunter out. The toddler, clothed in just a diaper, had mosquito bites, but was OK. And then mom rushed in to swoop up her son.

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Eklund said he can’t imagine what the parents must’ve been going through.

“He’s gone for maybe 5 minutes, and then you’re looking for three hours,” he said.

Hunter lives about a quarter mile from Eklund’s barn, and wandered all that way.

“Through a corn field, through a hayfield, through a pasture with six cows in it, through another hay field, up here and into this open shed,” Eklund said. “He actually scared me when I came around the corner. I thought it was something else.”

But it was just Hunter and his dog in the barn, making friends with the bulls. Eklund was glad to give a hand in reuniting Hunter with his worried parents.

“I was hoping it wasn’t going to be a bad day, but it turned out to be a pretty good day,” Eklund said.

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Hunter’s dad said he had a talk with Hunter, and he now knows he shouldn’t wander off again.

Jennifer Mayerle