Authorities in northwestern Germany have reported that an 8-year-old boy, who had gone missing for over a week, was found alive in a sewage system near his residence. The incident happened in 2022.
Joe, the child in question, vanished on June 17th, 2022, triggering a widespread search operation and causing his family members to become extremely anxious.
However, after a period of eight days since his disappearance, authorities in Oldenburg located him beneath a manhole cover based on a tip from a citizen who heard noises emanating from below.
He was successfully rescued.
“After evaluating all traces and clues, the officers now assume that Joe crawled through a drain into the rainwater sewer system on the day of his disappearance and lost his orientation after several meters,” the police announced.
As per the preliminary investigation, they have currently excluded the possibility of third-party negligence.
The search involved “a wide variety of police departments across the country as well as fire brigades and countless individual citizens who took part in the search for Joe.”
It looked like it was self-inflicted.
As per the authorities, the boy was discovered completely unclothed, but he did not have any significant injuries, except for severe hypothermia and dehydration.
He became disoriented and unable to locate an exit.
According to the police, he supposedly crawled along a line for 23 meters (75 feet) and followed the sewer system through a plastic pipe that was only 23.6 inches (60 centimeters) in diameter. Some of his clothes were later found in this pipe.
Those eight days must have been an incredibly terrible experience for him.
The youngster was able to navigate through sewage shafts and intersections, ultimately arriving at the location beneath the manhole cover where he was discovered.
Following a tip-off that the boy had been seen with an unidentified person, law enforcement officers initiated a homicide investigation; however, the information was later discovered to be false.
Police believe that there was no foul play.
Joe is presently under medical care in the hospital, and he hasn’t had the opportunity to completely explain his version of events to the authorities.
The preliminary police report indicated that Joe is experiencing a learning disability.
They proposed during the investigation that if he considered the search to be a game, he might continue to stay concealed.
Thankfully, everything worked out just fine.
“We are so happy, truly,” police spokesman Stephan Klatte remarked. “That is absolute luck. Of course, there was a possibility that we wouldn’t find the child there. Possibly, if he had not made a sound or these noises would not have been heard, then we may not have found him there at all.”
“I am very impressed by the great commitment of the past few days,” Oldenburg Police President Johann Kühme said. “I would like to thank all the main and volunteer forces and people who have done everything with empathy and a high personal effort—until late at night—to find the missing child.”
Joe’s father conveyed his sincere appreciation to all those who participated in locating his beloved son.