Officers searched door to door of all of the surrounding apartments and neighboring businesses in an area from West 95th to 99th streets and from Monrovia Street to Quivira Road.
Lenexa police said Zayden Henderson and his dog were found shortly before 8 a.m. Thursday inside an apartment next door to the apartment where his family lives.
LENEXA, KS (KCTV) -
A 3-year-old boy is home safe after an extensive, hourslong search that included helicopters and canines.
It turned out the boy everyone feared was freezing in the darkness was warm, sleeping right next door at a neighbor's apartment.
A neighbor found Zayden Henderson wandering the hallway. The neighbor tried knocking on the boy's parent's door, but no one would answer, so she let the boy sleep in her apartment.
When police first knocked on the neighbor's door Thursday morning, she didn't wake up. She says she stayed up late waiting for her neighbor to possibly wake up and slept through the search.
"He came over, knocked on the door and I know him because he's my neighbor and I let him in. I went over and checked, couldn't get anyone to answer, so I just let him come in, put a movie in and kept him safe," neighbor Rachel Shaub said.
Dozens of officers from Lenexa police and neighboring agencies as well as concerned neighbors teamed up to search for the toddler who went missing from the Oak Park Village Apartments, located in the 9500 block of Monrovia Street.
"This is a little baby, you know, someone needs to go out and help since we are so close. I had an hour and half before work so I'm going to come look for the child," volunteer Debbie Murchison-Perri said during the search.
Officer Dan Friesen said the boy's parents called police about 4:45 a.m. Thursday after discovering their son was missing.
"I don't even want to think about what could have happened if he was outdoors. I was freezing and I have thermal underwear," Cliff Henderson said.
Henderson got a frantic call from his ex-wife early in the morning that Zayden had done it again. At 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, she put him to bed, but at 4 a.m. Thursday she discovered he unlocked the front and he was gone. He had grabbed a step stool to allow him to get to the door's lock and took off with his dog.
Henderson said he is thankful the boy, he considers a son, is safe and was very emotional when he got the good news.
"I couldn't figure out where a 3-year-old boy would take off to. I've seen hundreds, hundreds of people searching for him. I'm thankful he is OK," Henderson said.
Henderson came to the apartment complex to help in the search about 6 a.m.
In hindsight, the neighbor watching Zayden says she wished she would have called police right away. She didn't wake up until 8 a.m. when officers knocked on her door again.
"It's a huge sense of relief because everybody is concerned whenever there's a child in serious danger, especially with the temperatures we had this morning. If he would have been outside, he would not have survived very long," Friesen said.
Shaub also plans to exchange phone numbers with the boy's family.
Zayden and his mom were finally reunited. While she didn't want to meet with the media, Henderson said they are grateful for all those who helped.
"I've seen hundreds of people searching for him, crying, and I'm just glad he's OK," he said.
Friesen said the boy had let himself out of the apartment in the past, using a step stool to reach the door handle.
Henderson said the boy once snuck out with his sister's purse and keys and started a car. They have locks on his door, but last night he fell asleep with his mother in a different bedroom.
The family said they will now have to figure out a new way to make sure he doesn't do this again.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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