ELKHART — Indiana State Police helped find a missing child in Elkhart County earlier this week via helicopter.
On Monday, July 4, a routine air patrol took a serious turn for ISP Pilot Sgt. Eric Streeval and Tactical Flight Officer John Riggers, a corporal with the Capitol Police assigned to the ISP Special Operations Section.
While flying air patrol in Indianapolis, they received a call around 9:15 p.m. Monday, July 4, that the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office needed assistance finding a missing child in rural Elkhart County. Streeval and Riggers immediately flew to northern Indiana to help search from the air.
They arrived in the search area just after 11 p.m. after stopping to refuel in South Bend. They began to search a cornfield that was identified as an area of interest. After searching for about 45 minutes, Streeval and Riggers decided to expand the search area and shortly thereafter identified what they believed to be the missing child east of the search parties. They stayed in the area of the missing child, giving directions to the search parties on the ground. After about a half hour, the search parties reached the child. The child was found to be in good health even though they were missing for several hours in high heat. The child was returned home.
“I felt like there was an angel looking after that child that directed us to the right location,” said Riggers.
Riggers has been a Tactical Flight Officer for about one year. Streeval has been a pilot for ISP for 19 years.
ISP’s Aviation Section has two Bell 407 helicopters, a Bell 206L helicopter and two Cessna airplanes housed at the Greenwood Airport. The fleet is equipped with specialized equipment for search and rescue, traffic enforcement, criminal surveillance, and disaster assessment and can be anywhere in Indiana in about an hour to assist first responders on the ground.