EXCLUSIVE: Central Texas community helps find missing Hamilton boy

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HAMILTON, Texas – An 11-year-old boy is safe home after disappearing on Wednesday night. But thanks to people from Hamilton and nearby towns, he wasn’t gone long.

Champ Cox didn’t come home when he was supposed to that night. His parents made just one call, and within minutes nearly 200 people were at their door ready to search for the boy.

“I got pretty worried. I didn’t know what had happened,” says Landon Bullard, Champ Cox’s dad.

It’s not every day the 11-year-old stays out past curfew, but it is every day when the people of Hamilton are ready to jump into action.

“Flash lights, spot lights, four-wheelers, ATV’s, walking, they covered this area within probably an hour. He was found,” says Bullard.

That’s what the scene was like after the boy wandered off with a stray dog.

“I didn’t even call the Sheriff’s Office. I just called the Fire Chief and said, ‘Hey man, I need a little bit of help.’ And it was like, Bam! (snaps fingers) Everybody showed up,” says Bullard.

That call was heard throughout the city – and within minutes, neighbors, strangers, law enforcement and people from nearby towns prepared to help one of their own.

“This community, time and time again, anytime you need help they always, whatever kind of support you need, people just show up. I think that’s a pretty big example of that last night,” says Sheriff Justin Caraway, with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

On Wednesday night, temperatures dropped into the 40’s with wind gusts up to 35 miles per hour. Sheriff Caraway says this is why the boy’s health was a concern.

“That just kind of concerned me, a young boy, and in three hours you’re working behind the clock already so those are always concerning situations,” says Sheriff Caraway.

He posted a live video on Facebook asking for volunteers.

“My hopes were to get people out there and obviously it worked,” says Sheriff Caraway.

Showing how a small community can make all the difference in the world.

“Thank everybody, thank all of them. There were so many people that showed up out here within just a couple of minutes,” said Bullard.

“Thanks for showing up and showing everybody what rural Texas is like, I mean everybody knows everybody and everybody is willing to come at a moments notice whenever you need help,” added Sheriff Caraway.

Sheriff Caraway says people as far as California have reached out sending their prayers.

As for Champ, he now knows to come home when he’s supposed to.

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