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Rescue crews follow giggles to find missing toddler in Canada

Courtlund Barrington-Moss was sunburned but healthy when rescue crews who'd searched all night heard him giggling in a muddy hole in Saskatchewan.

A 2½-year-old boy was sunburned and scratched but otherwise doing fine after his giggles attracted the attention of Canadian authorities who'd searched for him all night, his mother said Wednesday.

The boy, Courtlund Barrington-Moss, of Edmonton, Alberta, was reported missing Monday night after a family gathering near Aneroid, a village of about 50 people in Saskatchewan, about 60 miles north of the U.S. border, the Ponteix detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

Mounties from Ponteix, Swift Current and Assiniboia — in all, "close to 400 people," Shelby Layman, the deputy fire chief in Ponteix, said were assisted by a police dog and a Mounted Police search plane as they scoured the area for Courtlund in vain overnight Monday.

IMAGE: Courtlund Barrington-Moss
Courtlund Barrington-Moss, age 2, was examined at a Saskatchewan hospital on Tuesday and pronounced fit and speedy.Courtesy Keeley Moat

"They got everyone there they could possibly think of," Courtlund's mother, Keeley Moat, told NBC News on Wednesday.

Then, at about 9 a.m. Tuesday, 12 hours after Courtlund was reported missing, two volunteers heard a giggle.

Courtlund could see the rescuers, and "he was giggling at them and seeing the horses," Moat said.

When searchers got to Courtlund, "the hole that he was standing in was literally as deep as he was tall," she said. "They could only see his head."

Courtlund was examined at a hospital, but other than a case of sunburn, scratches from the brush and multiple mosquito bites, he was OK, Moat said.

"He was honestly just exhausted and not really sure what had happened," she said.

Layman said the search crews knew they had to hurry, because the temperature in Aneroid was on its way to almost 90 degrees on Tuesday.

"We were on a timeline," he said.

Courtlund was found a good mile away from where he'd set out. "Security cameras show him leaving the yard," Layman said. "He was really going."

As for Courtlund, he had no comment.

"He's not really able to say much," his mother said.