Cops say they are continuing to probe how a Texas toddler vanished for three days before being found naked in the woods five miles from his home.
Christopher Ramirez, 3, was found by a Good Samaritan on Saturday five miles from his home, where he disappeared last Wednesday.
Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell says that although he does not suspect any foul play, federal and state investigators are still looking into the boy’s disappearance.
‘The case is not closed,’ said Sowell during a Monday interview with KWTX.
‘Our investigators, including the federal partners, state and local are wrapping up all aspects of it. We’ll be closing it out when it’s finished.’
Although it remains unclear how the child managed to stray five miles from his home, his rescuer, Tim Halfin, speculates that Ramirez may have followed a pipeline that runs through the woods.
‘No one expected him to travel five miles in that terrain,’ Halfin told DailyMail.com Tuesday morning. ‘Maybe he followed a pipeline.’
‘I asked some neighbors near Chris’ house and they said about the pipeline is 100 yards from his home, but he could’ve taken several paths.’
Investigators are continuing their probe into the discovery of Christopher Ramirez (pictured), a missing Texas toddler who was found safe three days after he vanished into the woods
Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell (left) says that although he does not suspect any foul play, federal and state investigators are still looking into the boy’s disappearance. Ramirez’s rescuer, Tim Halfin (right), speculates that the boy may have followed the pipeline that runs through the woods
Halfin found Ramirez in the woods, completely naked, in thick undergrowth about 10 yards off Texas Highway 249.
He took to the woods after receiving, what he says, was a call from God Friday night.
‘The Holy Spirit prompted me: tomorrow morning you will go look for that boy,’ Halfin recalled.
On Saturday morning, after starting his day with prayer, Halfin set out to look for the boy in the woods near his home, following the pipeline as he walked.
‘I was walking along the pipeline and I hear a noise. It sounded like a child,’ Halfin shared.
He called out ‘hello, hello,’ but received no response.
After hearing the noise for a second time, he contacted authorities who dispatched the sheriff’s department to assist.
Halfin said they were looking through very dense woods, noting that you couldn’t see more than two or three feet on either side of the pipeline, when he heard the child-like noise again.
Ramirez was reported missing on Wednesday afternoon from his home in Plantersville, prompting a multiple-day search involving law enforcement, the FBI and local volunteers
The above map shows were Ramirez went missing from (Deer Park Lane) and where he was found (near Texas State Highway 249)
Ramirez went missing last week after following a neighbor’s dog into the Texas woods. He was found three days later found, completely naked, in thick undergrowth about 10 yards off Texas Highway 249 – five miles from his home
‘I’m walking back down the pipeline, praying to God and I hear the voice again. I yell out, “Chris is that you?” and he responds,’ he said.
‘I hone in on where the sound was coming from and chop back brush with the machete I was carrying … and there he stands.’
He continued: ‘It was surreal that I found him. He appeared healthy. He was peaceful. I looked at him and said, “little man, Jesus loves you and God must have a plan for you.”‘
After Halfin found him, Ramirez was reunited with his mother, Araceli Nunez, and taken to Texas Children’s Hospital for treatment and observation.
Speaking with DailyMail.com on Monday, Sheriff Sowell said Ramirez was found ‘just in time.’
‘Thank goodness he wasn’t too dehydrated or his organs didn’t shut down,’ the sheriff said. ‘He is doing well. He is not in critical condition.’
The toddler was released from the hospital Monday afternoon.
Ramirez and his family were escorted from the hospital to their residence by numerous law enforcement members, first responders, fire departments and many others that participated in the search for the three-year-old, including Halfin.
Nunez said she is extremely grateful to rescuers who brought her son home.
‘This is definitely a miracle,’ she told Good Morning America while speaking in Spanish, ‘I can’t even explain to you all with words.’
After being released from the hospital on Monday, Ramirez (pictured with his family and members of law enforcement) was honored at a special celebration
Sheriff Sowell (left) recognized the boy (pictured in his mother’s arms, left of Halfin) for his bravery: ‘It’s my honor to pin him a badge – junior deputy badge. He can look back with pride’
Ramirez and his family were then escorted from the hospital to their residence by numerous law enforcement members, first responders, fire departments and many others that participated in the search for the three-year-old, including Halfin
The sheriff’s office also recognized the boy for his bravery.
‘It’s my honor to pin him a badge – junior deputy badge,’ said Sowell. ‘He can look back with pride.’
The sheriff added: ‘[Chris] can be a Navy Seal if he wanted to. He has already passed survival training.’
Halfin, who met Ramirez’s mother at the escort, said Nunez believed her son would be rescued.
‘She knew he was going to be found,’ Halfin told DailyMail.com. ‘She is a woman of strong faith herself. She kept praying and she never gave up hope.’
‘There is no other explanation. This was a miracle.’
Halfin said he was unaware of Ramirez’s disappearance until Friday night when a a member of his Bible study group asked parishioners to pray for the child.
After learning about the boy’s situation, he felt called to search for him.
‘God laid it on my heart to go look, to reunite that boy with his mom,’ he said.
‘There were three miracles. One, Chris survived the elements and wild animals. Two, that he survived that many days without water, and three, that he was even found.’
The boy’s mother, Arceli Nunez said, is extremely grateful to rescuers who brought her son home. She said: ‘This is definitely a miracle. I can’t even explain to you all with words’
Halfin (pictured), who is still in awe by the alleged act of divine intervention, does not know why he was called to search for Ramirez, believes the rescue was all part of God’s plan
It remains unclear exactly how Ramirez managed to survive on his own.
The weather in Houston was extremely mild last week and survival experts say the toddler’s age may actually have helped protect him from harm.
That is because very young children are less likely to worry about whether water they find is safe to drink, or to be scared of bugs on a tree they need to shelter under.
‘Kids 6 and younger have a better outcome being lost in the woods than kids 7 to 12 do,’ Ray McKee with Texas Survival School told KHOU.
‘They worry less about (if) the water looks bad or smells bad or maybe bugs are over in the log I am huddling by to stay out of the wind.
‘They are more concerned about meeting that immediate physical need. Whereas when kids get older, they start to process things a little bit more and start to think about things a little bit more.’
Hilary Fairbrother, associate professor of emergency medicine at UTHealth Houston, echoed McKee’s claims: ‘Children can pretty easily survive without food for a week, especially if they don’t have medical problems.
‘Most people can survive without water for a couple of days. But again, children have a less long amount of time that they can survive without water.’
McKee also noted that the weather was ‘almost perfect’ while Ramirez was missing.
‘Sheltering is a big deal but the weather was almost perfect for him. Super mild, not too hot during the day, not too cold at night,’ he said.
In the days leading up to his rescue, hundreds of searchers look through the woods day and night. The sheriff says many did not eat or sleep knowing that the boy wasn’t eating or sleeping
Ramirez has been receiving treatment at Texas Children’s Hospital in the Woodlands since his rescue
In the days leading up to his rescue, hundreds of searchers look through the woods day and night. The sheriff says many did not eat or sleep knowing that Ramirez wasn’t eating or sleeping.
A police radio call, obtained by GMA, demonstrates the relief personnel felt when Ramirez was found.
‘The child was found alive. He is alive, he’s thirsty. He is with his mother and going to the hospital,’ an officer said.
‘Praise the Lord,’ a dispatcher answered.
The officer then replied: ‘Yes sir, yes sir.’
Halfin, who is still in awe by the alleged act of divine intervention, does not know why he was called to search for Ramirez.
He took to the woods during a time when there were ‘no leads or tips to go on.’
‘Things were looking bad,’ he told DailyMail.com.
When he was in the woods, Halfin said he felt discouraged as he looked for any sign of the child. He ultimately asked God for help.
‘I turned to the Lord — you called me come out here and do this,’ he shared.
He heard Ramirez’s voice shortly afterwards.
Although Halfin, doesn’t know how Ramirez survived or why he was told to search for him, he believes the rescue was all part of God’s plan.
‘I was hospitalized with a bad case of COVID in November,’ he said. ‘I don’t know why God spared me from succumbing to COVID but I’d like to believe it’s because he knew I’d have a part in saving Chris.’
‘I don’t know what to make of it. All I know is Chris was found safe. It was a miracle.’