EAST GREENWICH TWP., N.J. – March 25, 2013 (WPVI) — A 9-year-old boy with autism got stuck up to his neck in mud in the Mantua Creek on Saturday, having to be rescued by two local officers.
That boy, Kaden Carlisle, is safe and sound now with his family in their East Greenwich Township home. However, for two hours Saturday afternoon, he went missing somewhere in a heavily wooded area behind their home.
“It’s the most heart-wrenching, painful, scary, frightening moment you can imagine,” said Robyn Carlisle, Kaden’s mother.
K-9 Officers Adam Ziegler of Deptford Township and Bryan Haas of Logan Township were among those who went looking for the child.
“We did a track on the other side of the house. Both our dogs came down to the edge of the water. Kept circling around – kind of lost the track there,” said Ofc. Zeigler.
The officers were working against time and daylight as they combed through the woods looking for the child.
Finally two hours after he went missing, there was a break when Kaden’s father spotted his sneakers by the creek.
“The shoes in the mud and then right after the shoes you see actual foot prints going into the water,” said Ofc. Haas.
Shortly thereafter, they spotted the boy’s head over 100 yards away in Mantua Creek, submerged up to his neck in mud.
Without a second to think about it, Officers Ziegler and Haas navigated through the mud to get to him.
“We would get stuck ourselves and we would then assist each other getting unstuck,” said Ofc. Zeigler.
“He grabbed on to my hand, pulled him out and Adam Ziegler from Deptford Township. Pulled my waistband, pulled me back out of the mud because I was stuck and then from there, tossing the kid from one officer to the next,” said Ofc. Haas.
Kaden was shaken and shivering cold, but otherwise he checked out fine, much to the relief of his family.
For the officers, it was just another day at work.
“It’s just another day, it’s the perk of the job. You get to experience the highs and the lows and Saturday was a high, a good day,” said Ofc. Haas.
“Instinct as a police officer takes over, and also, I’m a father of three boys and my youngest is 9-years-old,” said Ofc. Zeigler.
For Kaden’s family, the officers are heroes.
“We have nothing but gratitude, thanks and deepest appreciation for the police, the first responders and everyone who helped search for Kaden while he was missing,” said Carlisle.