When a three-year-old boy vanished from his Florida home, it was a scary realization for his parents.

On June 3, 2020, Marshal Butler, a Ponce de León resident with autism, went missing, setting off a frantic police investigation. The family received a small amount of consolation after learning that the youngster was last seen with the two-family dogs, Buckwheat and Nala, and only wearing diapers.

Marshal was eventually located after many hours of searching, safe and sound with the family dogs who wouldn’t leave his side, according to a story from

On Facebook, the Walton County Sheriff’s office pleasured people to keep an eye out for him.



The post stated that “the child was last spotted wearing only a diaper” and that a K9 team had been brought in to assist in the search.

For Marshal’s family, who were aware of his autism, it was a very stressful time because they knew he wouldn’t be able to interact with everyone he encountered.

According to Marshal’s aunt, Kayla Stewart, the family was “terrified” when they learned the toddler had vanished.

She said to WJHG, “We were terrified. They’re thinking about all kinds of worst-case situations.”


Marshal was discovered close to a river, about a mile from his house. He was smeared in the dirt but otherwise undamaged, and he was with the family dogs, who seemed to have refused to let him be alone.

Carol Shelton, a neighbor, remarked that “both of his dogs were right there with him.” “We’re grateful the puppies sort of led him along, kept him secure.”

Marshal’s family expressed their excitement at having Marshal back and their pride in their two devoted dogs for helping to keep him safe.


The mother of Marshal said, “They’re doing their job.”

The sheriff’s office posted a message on Facebook to let Marshal’s family know he had been located safe.

The post has gone viral, receiving more than 3,000 replies and 1,500 shares. It also revealed that the boy’s canines had stayed with him.

One person said, “So happy to hear he was found safe. Amazingly, the dog was also discovered with him! He spent the entire time guarding him. Dogs are such devoted creatures!

I’m pleased Marshal was discovered safe, and the dogs remained by his side. Dogs are amazing creatures.

Walton County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

Do you know?

A 3-year-old Florida boy with autism was reported missing, but his family’s dogs kept an eye out for him and eventually helped find him.

A neighborhood search was launched after Marshal Butler, a non-communicative autistic youngster, left his family’s Ponce de Leon, Florida, house on Wednesday. Butler’s aunt Kayla Stewart told the local NBC affiliate WJHG that “they were in a panic.”

Worst-case scenarios of every kind are going through their minds. Marshal was located unharmed and accompanied by the family dogs, Buckwheat and Nala, after a multi-hour search by the family, neighbors, local and rural police, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission members.

“His dogs, both of them, were right there at his side. They were grateful that the puppies helped to direct him.

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