Updated: 06/29/2013 9:34 AM KSTP.com By: Naomi Pescovitz
Last Fourth of July, a little boy from Wisconsin captured hearts across the Metro. Scott Meyer, now 6-years-old, wandered from his home in Prescott on July 3, 2012. More than 20 hours later, he was found with only tick and mosquito bites.
"We were able to bring him home with the help of so many people and there's just no way we can thank all those people for the support of either searching, for donating, for prayers," said Scott's mom Barbara Meyer.
Memories from last July still stick with Scott's parents Barbara and Dick Meyer. Scott and his two older brothers have autism and difficulty communicating verbally.
"When I came upstairs, I saw my oldest son Carl sitting on the edge of his bed, looking over at the empty bed. And he knew his brother wasn't there and that was unusual. And that was hard because he is non-verbal and can't talk. And all he knew was, mom and dad are crying, grandma and grandpas are crying, aunts and uncles are crying, and there's no Scotty and there hasn't been Scotty all day," Barbara Meyer said.
Dick Meyer remembers hearing of a false alarm early on during the search.
"At that point we told the Sheriff, we don't want any calls or reports coming in until an officer has him in his arms," Dick Meyer said.
Almost a full day after Scott went missing, he was found by a volunteer and his dog.
"When I opened that door to the car that he was in and I said 'hi honey,' he looked straight through me. And another part of me died. And I thought, this isn't just a little dehydrated, something's seriously wrong," Barbara Meyer said.
That quickly changed with a mother's touch and voice.
"As we were driving out of our development, I started singing one of his favorite songs. And he turned and he looked at me with those big blue eyes and he broke out into a smile, and that's when I went, there's my Scott," Barbara Meyer said.
Barbara said she has noticed positive changes in her son since the incident.
"He came out of it liking people more, walking up to strangers, smiling when people who he didn't know spoke to him," Barbara Meyer said.
"The few times that he's been outside, he'll kind of run a few feet, and turn around and look at us, like you're watching me aren't ya?," Dick Meyer said.
The pain the Meyers went through is their inspiration to tell others about the tracking anklets all their boys now wear every day as a part of Project Lifesaver.
"They are just one quick phone call away to the Sheriff's Office," Barbara Meyer said.
"Once I turn the equipment on, I can look at the needle, so it's giving me a visual but then there's also an audible tone that's going off," said Pierce County Deputy Sheriff Steve Albarado, demonstrating the Project Lifesaver tracking system.
The national average time for finding a missing person with the program is about 30 minutes. In Pierce County, enrollment in the program has doubled since Scott Meyer went missing and was found.
"I just cant put into words what it's like to have your child missing. And for parents who have gone years without knowing, it just breaks my heart," Barbara Meyer said.
Scott Meyer will start first grade in the fall. He recently said his first couple words.