Community rallies to find missing child

By: Laura Newell Telegraph Staff Writer
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Thanks to a supportive community, 7-year-old Luke Everly is safe at home. Dave Everly, Luke’s father, had the scare of a lifetime after Luke went missing recently for three and a half hours while playing with friends at a nearby park in their Serrano neighborhood in El Dorado Hills. “It was so incredible. As I look back on it, it was overwhelming,” said Everly. The incident occurred when Luke decided to play at a nearby park where Everly could watch him. “I could see him from the window and after looking away for a minute he proceeded to go play at a new friend’s house that I didn’t know. It all happened in about six minutes,” Everly said. After realizing that the park was suddenly empty of kids, Everly began searching for his son at nearby houses, parks and a school. “About an hour later, I started to really worry,” he said. “I saw the Serrano security patrol and told them what happened. Immediately, they called over reinforcements and suggested I call 911.” After he called 911, Everly was told because of his son’s age, he was a “high risk” case and likely to have “poor judgment.” A female sheriff’s deputy was first to arrive to Everly’s house and soon, more followed. “At this point my neighbors started to notice and started to help,” he said. “My son (16) and daughter (14) began to get text messages of people wanting to help.” The family’s church, Lake Hills Covenant Church, also began calling to support the family. “Literally the street was full with so many people and cars trying to help,” Everly said. “The whole network of community was huge. We became a huge body trying to find Luke.” About three hours later, a man drove up to the house and asked if he could do anything to help. After Everly told him the situation, the man said he saw Luke playing with his own children at their house up the street and he thought Luke might be at his neighbor’s house. “I was just holding my breath,” Everly said. Everly said he jumped into the man’s truck and drove up to his house on a street he had never been before. The men went into the neighbor’s house and there stood Luke. “I saw him and was shocked and blurry eyed,” Everly said. “After getting over the sheer shock of almost losing Luke, I realized how blessed we are to live in this neighborhood.” Everly said he took Luke home and celebrated his return with their family including Luke’s siblings, mother and stepmother. “We told him he was not in trouble,” Everly said. “But, we were scared (so) we wanted him to see the reality of the situation. He had never seen me that scared before.” Everly said the one piece of advice he would give other parents is to write a phone list. He suggested writing a list of their children’s friend’s names, parent’s names and phone numbers will decrease the search time. “Luke learned his lesson, and we definitely learned ours,” Everly said. “We want to say thank you to the El Dorado Hills and Serrano community for all of their help and support. We couldn’t have found Luke without them.”