Father praises community for help in finding missing 7-year-old East Nashville boys

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It was a terrifying day for parents in East Nashville Wednesday afternoon after two 7-year-old boys wandered off and were lost for hours.

It happened in the Lockeland Springs area near Lockeland Design School.

Martin Hickman, the father of one of the children, says the boys were supposed to be at the playground when they went on an adventure that turned into a frantic neighborhood search.

“There were people on foot, there were people driving around in their cars. We could hear people yelling from the other side of the park, hollering, ‘Oliver, Oliver,'” resident Nita Schriver told News 2.

Oliver’s father said they were supposed to be playing on the playground.

“They always go in the woods and play, and this time they just got lost back there,” he explained. 

Minutes turned to hours, which felt like an eternity to the father as he scoured the overgrown wooded area behind the school.

“I think everything runs through your mind, all the options that could happen,” he said. 

Hickman said he made two phone calls to friends, and in no time the neighborhood was swarming with people offering their help.

“It seemed like there were hundreds of people out everywhere. It seemed like everyone in the whole neighborhood — from people we know to people we don’t know. Everyone stopped what they were doing to come to help us find them,” Hickman said.

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Schriver was among them.

“It is very natural and really overgrown at this point and adjoins a five-acre wooded area that is not developed at all. So we are like, okay, they could have fallen into the creek, or who knows what could have happened,” she told News 2.

Metro police patrolled the area from the streets to the sky. They deployed Air One and alerted crime scene investigators to stand by with drones if needed.

“There was a helicopter, there was police. It was a big ordeal,” said Hickman. 

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The boys were found hours later.

“Two and a half hours, which feels like forever,” the father explained. 

A stranger spotted the boys some two miles away near a number of businesses — a huge sigh of relief for the families and the community.

“It seemed like there were hundreds of people out everywhere,” Hickman said. “It seemed like everyone in the whole neighborhood from people we know to people we don’t know. Everyone stopped what they were doing to come help us find them. That was what was amazing and very touching to us.”

“I was outside still when someone on their phone said I found them I found them, so there was much rejoicing,” Schriver smiled.

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“It felt good to be part of such a community that you could just send a quick text and everybody is out, everybody is helping its just very overwhelming just how much love there is and how the community can come together. The feeling it takes a village to raise a kid, that feeling resonates is how wonderful it feels to be part of such a great community that just come out to help,”

The father said social outlets like the East Nashville Neighborhood Watch Facebook page helped spread the search efforts as well.

The boys apparently decided to buy a smoothie while they were out on their adventure. The father says they will be having some big talks about how dangerous it can be to wander off.

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