Karyna Minchala’s day began with a sense of dread. Awakened by the sound of helicopters at 3:30 a.m., she learned that a 3-year-old boy with autism had gone missing in her Davenport neighborhood. The boy, Thomas, and his family were visiting from out of town, and the urgency to find him was heightened due to his condition.

Local deputies scoured the area by land and air, but it was Minchala’s keen observation that led to the boy’s safe return. After checking her HOA’s website for updates, she decided to search her immediate surroundings. A conversation with her neighbor revealed that a little boy was asleep on his porch swing.

With a sense of relief and urgency, Minchala woke the child and immediately called 911. Holding Thomas in her arms, she waited for the emotional reunion with his parents. “I’m just happy they found their baby. Not many people are very lucky,” Minchala reflected.

The incident serves as a poignant reminder of the power of community vigilance and the importance of never losing hope, even in the most dire of circumstances.

The Role of Community in Keeping Kids Safe

Karyna Minchala’s actions are a reminder that we all have a role to play in keeping our communities safe. We should be aware of our surroundings and be willing to help if we see something that is wrong. We should also never lose hope, even when things seem hopeless.

In addition to the tips that you mentioned, here are some other things that people can do to help keep children safe in their communities:

  • Talk to your children about stranger danger and how to stay safe.
  • Teach them how to identify safe and unsafe people and places.
  • Make sure they know how to call 911 in an emergency.
  • Supervise them closely when they are playing outside.
  • Walk them to and from school or other activities.
  • Get to know your neighbors and make sure they are aware of your children.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the police.

By working together, we can create safer communities for our children.