Father of missing 7-year-old never lost faith his son would be found

FLATBUSH, Brooklyn (WABC) -- The father of a boy who went missing in Brooklyn on Wednesday is speaking out and grateful to be reunited with his young son.

Yosef Shapiro is so small, when he sits in a chair his little feet don't even touch the ground.

The 7-year-old didn't mutter a single word when he was asked if he's happy to be home Thursday night.

His father says he's shy to begin with... but who would blame him after the day he had on Wednesday.

It took seven hours and thousands of volunteers, along with police -- drenched in desperation from the humid summer heat -- to find him in Canarsie Park.

Yosef was at day camp, but never made it back on the bus.

Darkness eventually dampened hope as lighting and heavy rain washed away optimism.

And for little Yosef's father, his mind went to a dark place.

"The truth is I wasn't thinking, obviously different thoughts they come through your mind," said father Simcha Dovid Shapiro.

Yosef's father panicked. Fear had taken over. But, in an exclusive Eyewitness News interview, he says he never lost faith.



And then God answered his prayers. His boy was found on the beach by the edge of the park, near the Belt Parkway.

"Of course I was so happy to see him I gave him a warm hug and a kiss," Shapiro said.

A good Samaritan found Yosef semi-unconscious, half asleep and covered in mud.

As you can imagine, it was a phone call filled with endless gratitude.

"When he came home he ate a nice deli sandwich, he took a drink, my wife asked him 'do you wanna sleep in your bedroom or my room?' And he said he wanted to sleep in my bed, he was fine," Shaprio said.

At first good Samaritan Victor Shine denied he was the one who found Yosef. He didn't want the credit.

"I'm trying to think like a 6-year-old and what he'd want to hear and what he was experiencing," Shine said.

He even left the scene without telling anyone he had found the boy or how he found him.

"So I just keep calling his name promising him ice cream and pizza, that everyone is looking for him. You know trying the little Yiddish that I knew," Shine said. "All I heard was that one syllable, tah, and I heard it in a child's voice and it was really faint."

That one syllable he heard was Yiddish for father.

And now his father gets to walk down the block with his son. A walk he wasn't sure if he'd ever be able to do again.

HEART WARMING | 3-year-old friends who battled cancer together reunite for the 1st time
EMBED More News Videos

"No matter what, just look to the children because they'll lead the way," Payson's mother said.



----------
* More Brooklyn news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a News Tip
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.