Extensive search finds missing 11-year-old boy

It was a happy ending for all involved when the boy was found after being missing for close to 10 hours.

Law enforcement gather at a home on County Road 128 near Ironton, Tuesday, April 28, to search for a missing 11-year-old boy who walked away from his home Tuesday morning. Emergency personnel from several different agencies walked the woods near the home and searched the roads nearby for any sign of the boy. An aerial search by LifeLink and the Minnesota State Patrol helicopters continued throughout the day. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

IRONTON — A 11-year-old red-headed boy, missing in rural Ironton for several hours Tuesday, April 28, was found before dark after an extensive search by multiple agencies.

The boy, identified as Isaiah Ringhand, was last seen about 10 a.m. He was found almost 10 hours later, about an hour before sundown Tuesday.

“This is the best outcome we could have prayed for,” Crow Wing County Sheriff Scott Goddard said of finding the boy safe and sound. “This is not the norm to go this many hours into a search and have a positive outcome. Everyone, all the responders and everyone helping and, of course, the family are so thrilled he is home. He is happy to be home.

“He was scared when we found him, but he is in good health.”


Goddard said the boy was found a short distance from the family home in thick brush, which was partially covering him. Goddard said the pilot operating a sheriff’s office drone found the boy.

The pilot observed hot spots where the drone was flying, indicating heat from the child’s body. Goddard said the boy was close enough the drone pilot walked to the area of the hot spots and found the boy.

The family of the 11-year-old boy reported him missing about noon after the child failed to return home on the 21000 block of Crow Wing County Road 128, southwest of Ironton near Blackhoof Lake. The family told authorities there was a disagreement and Isaiah, whom authorities said has mental health challenges, left about 10 a.m. to cool off, but never came back.

The search party included more than a 100 emergency personnel and volunteers, who searched for the boy most of the day.

Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Investigative Sgt. DJ Downie said the sheriff’s office searched the property around the residence, which included sheds and an old camper. The area around the house is thick with trees, brush and swampy areas. Blackhoof Lake also is near the property. About 40 acres around the property was searched and it eventually was expanded to more than 160 acres.

The search party grew after authorities were unable to initially locate Isaiah. The sheriff’s office activated its drone team and the Crow Wing County Mounted Patrol assisted with the search. Also helping in the search were the Minnesota State Patrol; personnel from the Deerwood, Ironton, Crosby and Crosslake fire departments; Cuyuna Regional Medical Center ambulance; Deerwood, Crosby and Brainerd police departments, the Central Lakes Search and Resuce K-9 search team and Life Link III air care. The state patrol also provided its helicopter to assist in the search.

The sheriff’s office also asked nearby neighbors to check their properties during the day in case the boy ventured on, or tried to hide on their property.

Downie said the Ringhands called their church family and had several friends who also joined in the search for the boy. At 6 p.m. Tuesday the sheriff’s office called in more people and resources to search for Isaiah. The boy was found just before 7:30 p.m.


“This is exactly what we all needed,” Goddard said of the boy being found. “We needed a happy ending, especially right now. ... The weight of the world came off our shoulders when he was found.”

JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at or 218-855-5851. Follow me at on Twitter.

What To Read Next
Get Local