HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida mother expressed her gratitude toward the police officer who sprang into action to help find a boy with special needs who went missing.
It was a peaceful Saturday on Hollywood Beach, but for Rain Euth, the surf and sand came with some scary moments.
Noah, Ruth’s son, has spent his life on the beach, but even regular visits are unable to prevent a particular challenge.
“Anyone who has a special needs child like mine understands that elopement is just one of the nuances that comes with the territory,” she said.
Wandering off could have turned tragic quickly, but strangers stepped in.
“He just started running. Fortunately, though, we had a little group of ladies behind us that have special needs education teachers as their forte, and they jumped in right away, too,” said Ruth.
Hollywood Police Officer Steve Diefenbacher joined the search party.
“I seen a bunch of frantic women in this area, and they were screaming, and they were waving their hands, and they’d seen this little boy running down the Broadwalk,” he said.
Diefenbacher, a 22-year veteran of the department, said he caught up to the boy and cornered him, but it would take a spin in his all-terrain vehicle to close the deal.
“He wasn’t budging. He didn’t want to get off this area, so I asked his mom if he could jump in the ATV with me,” he said, “and as soon as I asked him to do that, he came right at me, we went for a ride, and I brought him back to his mother.”
With her son safe and sound, Ruth shared her joy on social media.
“Noah had an incident where he ran off and Officer Steve came to the rescue,” Ruth is heard saying in a cellphone video.
7News cameras captured a special reunion between Diefenbacher and Noah on Sunday, this time in a police SUV.
The boy offered his own recap of the day.
“Steve [said], ‘You sit down.’ I sit down, police officer talk,” he said.
Everyone involved is thrilled this story had a thumbs-up ending.
“It felt very good. His mom, you should see, she was so distraught, she was crying, and it was good that we could finally bring him back, both of them very happy and smiling,” said Diefenbacher.
“It’s like it came from the universe, like, we just were blessed that day,” said Ruth. “Who knew that on that moment, on that day, that was going to happen, and I would have such beautiful people around us?”
Ruth, a single mother, said it takes a village to raise her special needs son, and she’s thankful that village was there for her on Saturday.
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