An 8-year-old boy who was missing in the northwest Germany city of Oldenburg for over a week was found in the city’s sewer system about a 1,000 feet from his family’s home on Saturday.
A resident heard noises coming from under a manhole cover around 6:30 a.m. and alerted police.
The little boy, who police have called Joe, was “completely undressed when he was found” and “did not have any serious external injuries, but was severely hypothermic and dehydrated.”
“After evaluating all traces and clues, the officers now assume that Joe crawled through a drain into the rainwater sewer system on the day of his disappearance and lost his orientation there after several meters,” Oldenburg police said Tuesday in a news release.
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Law enforcement believes that Joe climbed through a drain pipe that was about three feet wide while playing on June 17 and got lost in the underground system.
Search parties had scoured the surrounding area for days, including by sending a robot equipped with a camera into the sewer system.
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“I am very impressed by the great commitment of the past few days. I would like to thank all the main and volunteer forces and people who have done everything with empathy and a high personal effort – until late at night – to find a missing child. Everyone can be proud,” Oldenbrug Police President Johann Kühme said Saturday.
Police have ruled out any foul play in the incident.