LOCKWOOD — A family is left thankful after a young Lockwood boy was found just days before his fifth birthday because of the quick actions of law enforcement and community members.
Friday afternoon started as a normal day for the Iron Shirt family, as mother Samantha Iron Shirt was gathering last-minute details for her son Chase's birthday party.
Chase wanted to go play so his mother said, "he got himself dressed and ready to go outside." He only put on a few layers to go play out in his backyard on Toledo Street, and his mother stayed inside.
In a matter of minutes, Chase vanished.
“I could see his snow tracks. Followed them all the way to the road and then they disappeared and I panicked,” Samantha said Monday.
She quickly jumped into action to try to find him and "started going down the street and up, just really frantic."
She had no luck even after her older son joined the search, and he called the police. Before she knew it, Samantha said a Yellowstone County sheriff's deputy was by her side. Shortly after that, it appeared the entire neighborhood was also aiding in the search.
"You know the whole community in Lockwood, the streets were packed," she said.
Stephanie Chosa is a neighbor of the Iron Shirts and arrived home around 4 p.m. Friday to a large scene of law enforcement on her street. She jumped into the search efforts after finding out who the officers were looking for.
"I honestly can say I've never seen that many sheriff's deputies out in one area," Chosa said.
During Chosa's search, she didn't think to search at the park that was nearly a mile away from their homes.
"He's younger. There's no way he could've gone very far," she said.
But Chase did make it far for a young child. He went to Harris Park, about a one-mile walk from his home. He was found there a little over an hour after his family first reported him missing.
“I could swear I could hear the whole neighborhood just cheering and saying that they found him. That was so amazing. How many people and the police force out here was, it was incredible. I couldn’t believe it," Samantha said.
Chase made it home safe to celebrate his birthday party the next day, and his family said they're forever thankful for the efforts of law enforcement and their community.
He received a police car Lego set from his older brother on his birthday after getting to ride home in the front of a deputy's car.