(PLANTERSVILLE, Texas) — When Tim Halfin learned during Bible study about a toddler missing in the thick woods of southeast Texas, he said God told him to go search for the child.
In an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America Monday, Halfin said he can only credit “divine” intervention for leading him on Saturday to find 3-year-old Christopher Ramirez, who survived nearly three whole days alone in the woods of Grimes County, about 50 miles northwest of Houston.
After hearing of the child’s disappearance, Halfin said he went to the woods around 11:45 a.m. Saturday near his home in Plantersville. About 10 yards in he heard what sounded like a child’s whimper.
“I said, ‘Christopher is that you?'” Halfin said. “Then he speaks again and I’m like, ‘Whoa, praise God.'”
Halfin said Christopher was calm and healthy.
“I don’t know what to make of it. All I know is he was found safe,” Halfin said. “When I picked him up, he was still talking. He wasn’t shaking, he wasn’t nervous. The things I would expect. Maybe he just sensed, ‘I’ve been found.'”
Halfin said he picked up the boy, who had shed his clothes and was completely naked, and called 911. Sheriff’s deputies took Christopher’s mother, Araceli Nunez, to him.
Shown a photo of the smiling little boy after he was reunited with his mother, Halfin said, “That’s what it’s all about right there.”
“That’s why everybody was praying. That’s why God laid it on my heart to go look, to reunite that boy with him mom,” Halfin said.
Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell said Halfin found Christopher about five miles from the child’s home, where he vanished after following a neighbor’s dog into the woods.
The boy is being treated for dehydration and minor scratches on his face at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and officials said he could be sent home sometime on Monday.
“He ought to be the ultimate Army Ranger, Navy SEAL, Air Force when he wants to grow up,” Sowell said. “He’s already passed the first test.”
Christopher vanished around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday as Nunez was carrying groceries into her house from her car.
The Sheriff’s Office immediately organized a search party after a neighbor told them she saw the little boy follow a dog into the woods.
Using drones, aircraft, K-9 units and numerous volunteer searchers on foot, the rescue party combed the woods night and day, but turned up no sign of the child.
“They told me, ‘We didn’t feel like we could sleep because we knew he wasn’t sleeping and he wasn’t found,'” Halfin said of search-and-rescue volunteers and law enforcement officers.
“I think the story is do not give up hope,” Halfin said. “Even though things look bleak, there’s always tomorrow.”
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