Missing child found at Martin’s Fantasy Island

GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) — A desperate search for a missing 12-year-old ended successfully more than four hours after it began Thursday evening at a Grand Island amusement park.

The search for 12-year-old Willow Sobaszek began late Thursday evening after a caretaker reported a child who was separated from a group with the Lackawanna summer program.  Family of Sobaszek say she originally went missing in the general area of the water park portion of the CLMqDqCVAAANZhCamusement park around 2:45 p.m.

“I would stress for anyone out there, we would like to get the call immediately. A two hour delay, an hour delay with the child that’s missing could really expand our search area,” Erie County Sheriff Chief Scott Patronik said. “Whenever you have someone that is missing, we would encourage you to call immediately.”

The search came down to the wire, with the sun just about to dip below the horizon when suddenly police located Sobaszek just after 8 p.m. Police say they found the child near a camping ground just outside Martin’s Fantasy Island.

“It’s obviously easier to search any type of terrain in the daylight. We were prepared to basically put our search and rescue team on standby,” Patronik said. “We were just going to dispatch them. It’s always easier to search in the day than it is in the dark.”

Officials successfully utilized helicopters and more to aid in the search in and around the amusement park. Deputies with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office began escorting park-goers around 7:30 to close it down for thorough ground searches. Erie County Sheriff’s Deputies headed up the search with the help of Grand Island Police, New York State Police and more.

Family members and police say they are just happy the story had a happy ending.

“If you’re here with your family, you always want to keep an eye on your child. Whether they wander away intentionally, whether they wander away accidentally, of if you get separated, it’s always a scary thing for parents,” Patronik said. “You can imagine these parents — she was missing for hours.”

WIVB.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s