"They went through a pure hell, no doubt," says an Arkansas sheriff's detective about the ordeal two small children somehow managed to survive—all thanks to the eldest of them, a 3-year-old named Kylen. The boy was found wandering alone on a state highway near Camden, Arkansas, on Monday, CNN reports. He was scraped up and "extremely traumatized," says Ouachita County Sheriff's Detective Lt. Nathan Greeley, per CNN. It was upon trying to reconnect the child with family that they learned his mother, Lisa Holliman, had last been seen going to the grocery store on Thursday; she also had a 1-year-old son. A search led to Holliman's overturned car in a ravine, apparently the result of a single-car crash and not visible from the road.
The infant was found strapped in his car seat alive; Holliman, 25, had been ejected and was dead. "We're still trying to determine the timeline, but the mother was last seen Thursday," Greeley said. "This is one of the most remarkable things I've ever experienced in my 11 years at this department." Holliman's father, James, tells KARK that Kylen was able to unstrap himself and exit the car through the sunroof. "When he climbed out of that car, seeing his mother dead like that like she was, he tried to wake his mom up," he says. The boys survived without food and water; the temperatures were high and thunderstorms came through the area. "It's nothing short of a miracle," says Greeley. But still, a tragedy: Holliman's family learned she was four weeks pregnant at the time of her death. The crash remains under investigation. (Read more car crash stories.)