When 1-year-old Bradley Michael Thomas was reported missing last week, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) reached out on Twitter.
"DCSO is attempting to locate a missing child," they wrote, describing what the baby may have been wearing. "The child was last seen near a barbed wire fence."
In a similar post, shared on DTSO’s Facebook page, officials released photos of a vehicle linked to Bradley and his parents.
And then came a third message, also on Facebook, stating that a call came in regarding a male who had come out of the woods and was "on the caller’s property asking for law enforcement."
The man in question turned out to be the boy’s father, 25-year-old Brandon M. Blouin. He told police that he and his family had been staying in a vehicle in the forest when Bradley’s 18-year-old mother stepped away. When she didn’t return, Blouin claims he took the boy with him, deep into the woods, to go look for her.
“During Blouin’s search for the female, he set Bradley down in the forest and left him,” DCSO wrote. “Blouin is believed to have been under the influence of a controlled substance when he made the choice set him down and walk away.”
The boy was located approximately 1 mile from the family vehicle, lying naked in a pile of dirt in the southeast corner of the Bend, Oregon, woods following a six-hour search. He was unharmed and alert.
Blouin was later arrested on charges of Criminal Mistreatment I, Child Neglect II, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor and Assault III. DCSO officials say the assault charge stemmed from an injury that they believe Bradley suffered while in Blouin’s care.
In a statement to Mom.me, Detective Doug Jackson—the hero who found the little boy—said, “He was sleeping when I found him and when I reached down to touch him, I was able to feel he was warm to the touch and alive.”
He added, “As soon as I picked him up, he became more alert, and we immediately had him evaluated by medics.”
Though Jackson refuses to take full credit for finding Baby Bradley, insisting it "was a team effort," he continues to interact with the boy whenever possible. He told us he enjoys playing peekaboo with Bradley and plans to stay in touch as he grows.
It seems Jackson isn’t the only one at the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office concerned for Bradley’s future. The group posted another message on Facebook, asking the community for donations of toys, clothes and blankets that they plan to donate to Bradley.
“He is currently in size-18-month clothing and size-6 diapers,” they wrote, and thanks to their efforts and heartfelt compassion, he is here—alive and out of danger—to enjoy them.
“It was a call I will never forget," Jackson told Mom.me.
Authorities say the investigation is ongoing and they will release additional information as it becomes available.