Missing Florida toddler found safe and sound

Deputies: Joshua ‘JJ’ Rowland was missing for over 24 hours before being found

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. – A 2-year-old boy who was reported missing Thursday has been found safe, authorities confirmed on Friday.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said Joshua Rowland, known as JJ, was found by a volunteer searcher Friday morning in the woods near a middle school that is quite a distance from his home.

The boy was last seen Thursday morning near his home in Brooksville, near a heavily wooded area, wearing a gray Batman shirt and dark gray pants.

Deputies said he left home while his parents were asleep. They waited about an hour before reporting him missing, authorities said.

A witness told deputies they saw JJ in the front yard, playing with dogs before he vanished.

Nearly 60 law enforcement personnel searched for JJ along with volunteers all day Thursday until just after 8:30 p.m. The search resumed Friday morning and JJ was found by a volunteer shortly before 11 a.m.

“I was hoping and praying for a miracle, I was hoping and praying for a miracle. I certainly wasn’t expecting one,” Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said. “I think a lot of people were praying and prayer works. That’s all I got to say.”

JJ was taken to a hospital to be checked out, but is doing well, authorities said.

About the Author:

Veronica Crespo writes for Local10.com and also oversees the Español section of the website. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism and Spanish.