A five-year-old boy survived a cold, rainy night alone in the Maine woods after getting separated from his family on a hike in Acton.
Christopher Grecco and his grandparents were up from New Jersey, visiting family in Acton, according to the York County Sheriff’s Department. The group went for a hike on family property on Hussey Hill Road Sunday afternoon, when the boy disappeared around 6:30 p.m.
“I think we are all still suffering from tremendous shock,” said Grecco’s family member, who did not want to be identified. She said her family, along with Wardens, police, and K9 teams, spent the entire night and early morning searching the woods for him.
“It really doesn’t get any more frantic than that,” said Maine Warden Service Corporal John MacDonald.
It was a rainy, windy night with temperatures in the low 40s. MacDonald said the boy had to be “tough” to endure those conditions for about eight hours.
Around 2:20 a.m. Monday, a volunteer search team with the Maine Search and Rescue Dogs located Grecco.
“He was just kind of laying down... he was actually playing dead,” said Dorothy Smail, who located the boy with her German Shepard Tala. “He thought [the dog] was a fox, and that she might bother him.”
Smail described Grecco as “tremulous, definitely tired, and hungry” – but said otherwise he seemed fine.
“He didn’t have a scratch on him,” said Grecco’s family member. “He was absolutely fine, and wasn’t even that wet.”
MacDonald said the key to Grecco’s survival may have been staying put, and waiting for search teams to locate his scent. The boy was found about a half-mile off trail.
Grecco was taken to a nearby hospital, and according to the Sheriff’s Department, went back to New Jersey with his grandparents late Monday morning.
“This is just a great ending to what could have been a tragic day,” said York County Sheriff Bill King.