Missing Sequoyah County children found safe, thanks to a small flashlight

KNWA

A 12 hour search with high-tech tools came to a happy ending all because of a keychain.

VIAN, Okla. (KNWA/KFTA) — After nearly 12 hours, four missing kids from Sequoyah County were found safe with the help of a small flashlight.

It was supposed to freeze last night and I was scared, all I could do was bawl and cry.

FREDA JOLLY, GREAT GRANDMOTHER OF FOUR CHILDREN

A few moments.

That’s all it took before four children, all under the age of 10, went missing.

Levi Andrew Wilder age 5, Ada-Bell Wilder age 6, Maria Sue Wilder age 7, and Nathaniel Wilder age 9 were playing outside in their backyard, 5 miles north of Vian, around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 1.

The children’s great grandmother, Freda Jolly, went inside to answer the phone.

When she came back out, she couldn’t find them.

I hung up and went out there… they were gone.

FREDA JOLLY, GREAT GRANDMOTHER OF FOUR CHILDREN

Once she realized the kids were nowhere close to the house, she called 911.

“Next thing I know I was surrounded by cops,” she said.

Search and rescue crews used drones, thermal imaging, and a helicopter to try and find them.

“It’s [went] on 11 hours and I was afraid something happened to them,” Jolly said.

Right before wrapping up their last trip flying around the area, something caught the pilot’s eye.

He grabbed the flashlight and started shaking it.

FREDA JOLLY, GREAT GRANDMOTHER OF FOUR CHILDREN

Thanks to a small LED keychain flashlight, the oldest child was given by his great-grandpa, the kids were spotted.

We ended up locating them at the foot of a really steep tall bluff.

SHERIFF LARRY LANE, SEQUOYAH COUNTY

Sequoyah County Sheriff Larry Lane said the kids were found about 1.3 miles away from the children’s home, right below Tenkiller Lake — trapped between a body of water and a steep buff.

“The youngest one, the five year old, didn’t have a jacket,” Sheriff Lane said. “I think two of them didn’t have shoes on.”

The children are now reunited with the great-grandmother — right in time for her 67th birthday.

It’s my birthday and that’s what I got for my birthday was my babies.

FREDA JOLLY, GREAT GRANDMOTHER OF FOUR CHILDREN

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