When father, Matthew Meinert disappeared during a fishing trip with his two-year-old son, it came as a shock to many that the little boy was found alive in the woods.
According to Facebook, Matthew snapped a quick selfie with the two year old, Oliver, only a few moments before setting off on a fishing trip. Their boat was found stranded downstream by a passerby just one hour later, with absolutely no sign of the duo.
Authorities were immediately notified and a search and rescue operation began.
After hours and hours of searching into the night, miraculously, the little boy was found wandering alone in the woods near where the boat was found.
— FOX 4 NEWS (@FOX4) March 7, 2017
Texas Game Warden Captain Cliff Swofford told the Dallas Morning News:
“The child walked right up … and said he wanted juice.”
Oliver was a little cold but shockingly unharmed considering he spent an entire night alone in the wilderness.
One member of the search-and-rescue team was astonished by the fact the boy was alive:
“Being out in the wild last night with all the wildlife that is present — from snakes to coyotes to hogs — is quite a blessing that he made it.”
Oliver was taken to the hospital where his mother was waiting for him.
However, the search was far from over.
They continued to look for his father, clinging to the hope that he too, would be found alive in the woods.
Unfortunately on Friday, Matthew’s body was found floating in six feet of water only 10-15 yards from where his boat had been stranded.
According to reports, an autopsy determined that he had been hit in the head by a propeller. He was not wearing a life jacket when he was found.
The family released a statement through the Texas Game Wardens Facebook page:
The family of Matthew Meinert are very saddened at the loss of a wonderful husband, father, son and great friend. His love for his wife and son Oliver, was beyond belief. Matt’s final hours were spent doing what he loved, playing and fishing with Oliver.
They added that they believe Matthew watched over Oliver and kept his toddler son safe during that long night:
Our faith has told us that Matthew was looking over his son during the night Oliver spent alone in the woods.
Finally, they thanked the search and rescue teams that helped find Oliver and Matthew, as well as everyone who offered support or prayers:
We want to thank everyone for their thoughts and generosity. We ask for your continued prayers.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Meinert family.