WAUKESHA — The family of 10-year-old Andrew Ounkham, along with the Waukesha Police Department and Waukesha Fire Department are thanking the hundreds of volunteers and law enforcement officials that helped search for Ounkham Sunday, October 2nd and Monday, October 3rd.
Andrew Ounkham was found safe Monday, 18 hours after he ran into a corn field near his home in Waukesha on Sunday afternoon.
A teenage boy and his friend, students at Waukesha West High School spotted Andrew Ounkham near Green Country and Saylesville Road in Waukesha on Monday morning — amid the massive search. That’s about a mile-and-a-half from Andrew’s home. The teen immediately called 911 (listen below) — and the 911 operators called the command post.
A message was sent to the Wisconsin State Patrol. They met with the teen who had identified Andrew — and went with that person to the area. They located Andrew, “scooped him up” and brought him back to the roadway.
A short time later, Andrew’s parents identified him — and it was determined he was safe.
Fadara Ounkham said she was watching Andrew ride his scooter outside their home on Sunday afternoon. She went inside to turn on the dryer and when she came out — he was gone.
Fadara Ounkham, spoke with reporters on Monday afternoon — and said her family is extremely grateful for the unexpected outpouring of support amid the massive search and after her son was found safe.
“It’s overwhelming and unbelievable how many people showed up. I really want to thank everybody, you know, for going out of their way. People brought water. They brought their car for lights. Everyone was up all night — their perseverance to look out for Andrew. And, you know, this is the way our world should be — everybody watching out for each other,” said Fadara Ounkham.
After Andrew Ounkham was reported missing, local law enforcement, members of the Wisconsin Civil Air Patrol and even members of the Wisconsin National Guard took part in a massive search that continued overnight into Monday morning.
First responders utilized K-9 officers, a drone, a fire engine ladder and heat sensing technology in their search.
Hundreds of volunteers took part in the search for the non-verbal boy who has autism both Sunday evening/night and Monday morning. At one point, neighbors locked arms and walked through the field. Police asked that they search their neighborhood with flashlights, and leave the corn field to law enforcement.
According to police, the search area covered approximately three square miles of corn fields, streams and thick wooded areas with little or no roads.
Because of this difficult terrain, specialized search teams were requested and others simply responded to the area to help search for the boy.
Overnight Sunday, police asked the public not to search as it could be dangerous in the dark — but Monday morning, hundreds of people came out to help.
Waukesha police are also thanking the Waukesha School District for providing Waukesha West High School for a staging area and the Waukesha Park and Recreation Department for providing the park shelter as a safe place to run the command post.
Furthermore, police are thanking the administrators of each public safety agency that dedicated manpower and resources to the search:
Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department
Southeast Wisconsin Incident Management Team
Wisconsin State Patrol
Racine County Sheriff’s Department
Town of Waukesha Fire Department
Milwaukee Police Department K-9 Unit
Glendale Police Department
New Berlin Police Department
New Berlin Fire Department
Menomonee Falls Police Department
Wauwatosa Police Department
Ozaukee County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit
Pewaukee Fire Department
Sussex Fire Department
Village of Stone Bank Fire Department
Town of Brookfield Fire Department
Oconomowoc Fire Department
Town of Vernon Fire Department
Town of Big Bend Fire Department
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Wisconsin K-9 SOS
Wisconsin Civil Air Patrol- Fixed Wing Aircraft
Wisconsin National Guard- West Bend Air Support Unit – Blackhawk Helicopter
Washington County Sheriff’s Department
Whitewater Area Mounted Search Team and Rescue (WAMSTAR)
Salvation Army Disaster Response Services
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)