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4-Year-Old Palm Coast Boy Critical After He’s Found Unresponsive in Locked Van in Driveway

| July 12, 2015

critical boy woodlands

The boy was found in the vehicle in front of the house at the corner of Blakefield and Blare Castle Drive in the Woodlands. (© FlaglerLive)

A 4-year-old boy was found unresponsive in a van parked in his home’s driveway in Palm Coast’s Woodlands Sunday afternoon. A Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy administered CPR to the boy, who was transported in critical condition to Florida Hospital Flagler. No foul play is suspected, but an investigation is continuing.


The incident unfolded in early afternoon at a house at the corner of Blakefield Drive and Blare Castle Drive.

A Flagler County Sheriff’s spokesman said the boy was at home with his 13-year-old sister, and both were likely sleeping, according to preliminary information gleaned by deputies. At some point the girl woke up and discovered that her brother was missing. She called the sheriff’s office, which dispatched numerous deputies.

The boy was found in a vehicle in front of the house, and may have been there “for up to an hour,” Jim Troiano, the sheriff’s spokesman, said this afternoon. Temperatures rose into the 90s today. Sgt. Michael Van Buren, an 18-year veteran of the force, conducted cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the child before Flagler County Fire Rescue and Palm Coast Fire Department rescuers arrived.

michael van buren

Flagler County Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Van Buren, seen here when the Sheriff’s Office recognized him “for his positive team-
building attitude and high level of professionalism.’

“We picked the 4-year-old up and took [him] to Flagler Hospital, and FireFlight flew him to Wolfson Hospital up in Jacksonville,” Flagler County Fire Chief Don Petito said. Wolfson is a children’s hospital. FireFlight, the county’s emergency helicopter, had circled the area beforehand during the search for the boy, before he was located in the vehicle. Petito said the vehicle had been locked.

At one point a swarm of deputies converged on the area, according to a neighbor, as the helicopter circled above, and yellow crime tape was placed around the property. The tape was taken down around 6 p.m.

“We’re working the case to make sure we cover all the bases,” Troiano said. “It’s a tragedy, but at this point we see no foul play.” He said the preliminary investigation has found “no criminal intent.”

The parents of the children had left the older child in charge of the younger child and left the house. “They weren’t doing anything inappropriate or suspicious or anything like that,” Troiano said of the parents.

Referring to Van Buren’s CPR intervention, Troiano said: “It’s part of the job for us, especially when you do it, you want the person to survive.”

Petito said the child was breathing when he was transported to Florida Hospital Flagler.

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13 Responses for “4-Year-Old Palm Coast Boy Critical After He’s Found Unresponsive in Locked Van in Driveway”

  1. Michael Van Buren says:

    [Selected as the Comment of the Day in the Tuesday Briefing.–FL]

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and their son right now.

    I was not in this alone. Deputy Barnett who spotted the child, Deputy Nunziato whose quick thinking started treating him to start bringing his core temperature down, as well as Deputy Wood who deployed the AED all deserve a pat on the back.

    I also would like to say that I am proud to work with the finest men and women in the state. Credit for any chance this child has goes to each and every one of the first responders that had a part in this call. From the 911 operator and dispatchers to the many deputies that immediately responded as well as Fireflight, Palm Coast Fire Department, Flagler County Emergency Services, and the staff at Florida Hospital Flagler.

    Lets all say a prayer tonight for this child’s full recovery.

    • Tressie DuPont Paytas says:

      A Big Thank You all for your service

    • Lillian says:

      Thank you Sgt Van Buren and all those who were involved. Nunziato, Barnett, Wood and all those who responded to the incident. May God keep you safe always. 100% respect for all you do.

  2. Rob says:

    I hope the boy fully recovers. Great job by Sgt. Van Buren and the fire/EMS crews!

  3. Layla says:

    Praying for this child and his family. Lock your vehicles, please. Then things like this cannot happen.

  4. Derrick R. says:

    Victim of Inhalants ? Really this young man may have lost his way but he was not a victim. Sympathies to the parents as none should ever have to bury a child. But sugar coating the truth only embodies more tragedy.

  5. Footballen says:

    I pray especially for the chaild but also for his parents. Great job sergeant Van buran.!

  6. Tired of it says:

    Nothing but praise for Sgt. Van Buren.

  7. Jake says:

    Thoughts and prayers are with the boy and his family. Such a horrific event; hopefully he pulls through.

    Nobody joins public safety wishing to have to perform CPR on a 4 year old. Sergeant VanBuren; thank you for 18 years of service to this county and moreover our thoughts and prayers are with you as well.

  8. Avis B. says:

    Prayers with the little boy and to his family. Also, super great job to the Sgt.who discovered the child, and thanks to all involved with saving the little boy. Prayers for everyone.

  9. Outsider says:

    Great job to Mike and all those who contributed to this rescue. This is proof that the police do great things for the citizenry of this country.

  10. Heading North says:

    Well done Mike and others – makes me proud to call you my brothers!
    “Mac”

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