Missing 3-year-old autistic child found in the woods by deputy bloodhound

A mother is thanking a bloodhound’s knack for scents after the dog helped find her 3-year-old autistic child who got lost wandering the woods in the Florida Panhandle.

Aedric was being watched by his grandmother Sunday when he managed to unlock the deadbolt to the front door and slipped out “for a little adventure” while his grandma was in the restroom, according to his mother. He then wandered into the woods behind a neighbor’s home in Pace, a Pensacola suburb.

“The most terrifying words a mother can get on the phone is ‘your child is missing, get home right now,’” Audra Hughes said at a news conference Monday morning. “And then a couple hours later, the best news I’ve ever heard in my life. ‘We found your kid.’”

After searching for two hours, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office decided to release their bloodhounds, which they’ve had for about a year.

“Once the dog hit the ground, it was 28 minutes until we got the child,” Sheriff Bob Johnson said.

Aedric was found about 200 yards away, according to deputies, surrounded by briars, mud and “nasty moss.”

The boy suffered only scratches and bug bites, according to Johnson. Deputies had to use a machete to reach him.

He’s expected to be OK and was given a life-size stuffed animal to celebrate his rescue.

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Real Time/Breaking News Reporter. There’s never a dull moment in Florida — and I cover it. Graduated with honors from Florida International University. Find me on Twitter @TweetMichelleM