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'Miracle' Reunion After 5-Year-Old Lost in Salt Bowl Scare

BRYANT, Ark.--  Nearly 40,000 fans, including many families, ran for their lives as chaos erupted at the Salt Bowl Saturday night. We reported parents and children got separated in the sea of crowds.

Officials reported late Saturday night that everyone was reunited within a couple of hours.

We're learning more about how strangers were helping strangers. A 5-year-old Bryant Elementary student got lost in the crowds during the scare. Thanks to a couple and his new kindergarten teacher his mother was reunited with him.

We were there Sunday as Joshua met the couple at his Saline County home.

Joshua said, "Those my heroes. Those my angels."

The Bryant kindergartner gave the couple who helped him a high five and hugged them Sunday.

His mother Ebony Shelton told us, "Now this is how I know there's a God."

She said she thought she grabbed Joshua and ran with her other children and husband. But soon she realized it was his brother who dressed the same that she had in her arms.

"It was a panic moment. It was a moment of fear. You know? We don't know who has him. Was he hurt?" Shelton described the moment she realized her son wasn't with her.

Lexi Summers and Payton Poole were at the game when everyone started to run as reports of shots fired spread fear into the crowd. 

Summers said, "He (Payton) told me to just run across the field. We were trying to get out through one of the tunnels and that's actually where we found Joshua."

The couple didn't hesitate to help the lost child.

Poole picked Joshua up Sunday over his shoulder.

He described what happened, "I had him like this. He was just holding on like this and we were running."

Shelton said, "My purse and everything was taken. So I didn't have a cell phone or anything."

While Poole kept the 5-year-old calm and occupied with his cell phone, his girlfriend took what little information  Joshua knew and took to social media.

Joshua said, "I'm in kindergarten and my teacher name is Hartsell."

The couple then together came up with the next idea.

Summers said, "I was like 'I don't know Mrs. Hartsell, but I'm going to know Mrs. Hartsell.'"

Summers then found the teacher on Facebook and realized her cousin had the same Bryant Elementary School teacher. She messaged her.

"She immediately was like I am on my way to the school to get her phone number," Summers said.

Shelton said an unknown stranger who ended up with Shelton's phone called her daughter's phone as they were searching frantically for her lost son.

Shelton said, "She (the caller) said 'Hey. Someone just called your phone and said they have your kid.' I go (takes a deep breath)."

The two woman said social media, a caring teacher who was not at the game and God connected them all in less than 2 hours.

"We were sitting on the opposite side of the stadium so why we ran through that tunnel on the opposite side? I will always think that was God leading us to him (Joshua)," Summers told us.

Joshua plans to keep in touch with the strangers he now calls his friends and his "angels."

The 5-year-old also wanted to thank his teacher Mrs. Hartsell, "I want to say thank you by saying love you."

The Bryant School District said in a release administrators plan to meet Sunday night to make a plan for Monday. It plans on having counselors at all schools in its district Monday.


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