"This is the best news ever," the Magoffin County Sheriff Department said in a Facebook post after 22-month-old Kenneth Howard was found alive almost three days after he wandered away from his rural Kentucky home. The sheriff's office says the toddler is being treated for dehydration, but he is in "remarkably good shape," ABC reports. Capt. Carter Conley of the Magoffin County Rescue Squad says Kenneth was in the yard with his father at around 7:30pm Sunday and disappeared while his dad's back was turned. He was found around 2pm Wednesday when a member of a search team heard his cries. The boy was at the bottom of a 50-foot incline near an old, overgrown strip mine.
Kenneth was nearly 1,800 feet from home, and authorities say they are surprised he made it that far over rough, mountainous terrain. "Over terrain, I would not ... even as a young man I don't think I'd even attempt it," an official tells WYMT. "That child is a true Kentucky mountain boy." The father, Elden Howard, tells the station that when he heard Kenneth had been found, he initially felt disbelief. "Til they told me they were sure it was him and stuff, and I'd seen a picture. I said, 'that's my boy.' Tickled me to death. Best thing that ever happened to me in my life." Hundreds of volunteers, some of them from out of state, joined the search. "Thanks to all who prayed, searched, and helped in any way," the sheriff's office said. (Read more uplifting news stories.)