A five-year-old boy in Arkansas is being lauded as a hero for helping police officers locate a missing man who has Alzheimer’s disease.
On February 16, the Fayetteville Police Department (FPD) announced it was searching for 65-year-old Tony Joab, who had left his residence earlier in the day. The department noted that Joab, who has Alzheimer’s, left home without a phone or vehicle and would appear disoriented.
“There have been extensive efforts made to locate the gentleman, but we just hadn’t found him yet,” Lt. Scott Carlton with FPD told KNWA/KFTA. “Darkness was moving out on us. We had rainfall coming in, and we had done everything we could to put the information out to the public to try to find him.”
As police were running out of options, they decided to go door to door in hopes of finding a lead. They eventually ended up at five-year-old Ezekial McCulley’s house, where the preschooler told them he had seen Joab in the woods while at recess earlier in the day.
“It was the tip that helped save Mr. Joab,” the FPD said in a Facebook post.
“I saved someone just off my eyes,” Ezekial told KNWA/KFTA.
Soon after finding Joab, the officers paid Ezekial another visit.
“The cops ended up coming back and knocking on our door,” the child’s mom, Brittany McCulley told KNWA/KFTA. “They told us they found him and that it was due to his tip. They asked if they could take a picture with him and he has just been so excited since.”
Carlton dubbed the preschooler the hero of the day.
Ezekial and his classmates received a surprise visit at their preschool the following day.
“Everyone wanted to come and meet him, so the police officers and firemen were so excited this morning to come down here and see him,” Carlton told KNWA/KFTA.
Officers brought cookies and badges for the class, and even a news crew visited Fayetteville’s five-year-old hero, who says he would like to become a police officer when he grows up, the outlet reported.
Ezekial created a new word to describe the situation – “criracle” – which is a combination of “crazy” and “miracle,” the FPD said.
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