Ind. Father Pleads for Help Finding Son, 14, Who Went Missing While Walking His Dog in the Woods

"I have to have him back," Jeremiah McCarty said of his missing son, Jacob McCarty

jacob mccarty
Jacob Cole McCarty and his dog, Isabella. Photo: Harrison County Sheriff's Department/Facebook

An Indiana father is begging the public for help finding his teenage son, who recently disappeared while walking his dog.

Jacob Cole McCarty, of Corydon, was last seen on Tuesday, Sept. 21, according to a Facebook post from the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.

In a video posted on Saturday, Sheriff Nick Smith said authorities believe the 14-year-old boy went missing while taking his dog, a German Shepherd named Isabella, for a walk in the woods.

Standing beside Jacob's father, Jeremiah McCarty, Smith noted in the video that officials think Jacob may have been planning to meet up with someone he met online.

"His son has an online gaming presence, like many of our children," Smith explained. "We believe, with the information that we've collected in this investigation, that his son had met someone online and had plans to meet them."

Despite thoroughly searching the area by ground, by air, and with canine teams, as well as reviewing hundreds of hours of camera footage for every business and residence nearby, Smith said authorities "have not been able to find [Jacob] or who he went with."

"We believe, at this point, Jacob can't return, and we need your help," he continued, before urging the public to review their security camera footage to see if they find the boy and his dog.

"It might be a gas station," Smith noted. "It might be a McDonald's drive-thru. It might be anywhere. We do not have the manpower to check every camera in a 200-mile radius, but you do... this is the day that you can help [Jeremiah]."

A visibly emotional Jeremiah also spoke up during the video, begging the public for their help through tears. "Any time that anyone can spend looking at the cameras they may have, please do," he pleaded. "Help me bring home such a good boy. He's such a good kid."

In an interview with Fox affiliate WDRB, Jeremiah added, "Someone has to know something. Someone has to know something."

"I have to have him back," he went on. "I just need to know that he's safe. That's all I really want to know right now."

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Jeremiah also noted how he's had multiple conversations with his son about internet safety but Jacob often brushed him off.

According to a Children's Internet Usage Study by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, 40% of kids in grades 4-8 reported that they connected or chatted online with a stranger. Of that percentage, 15% tried to meet with a stranger while 11% actually met with one in their own home, the stranger's home, a park, mall or restaurant.

"He gave me the same old song and dance, you know, 'I know, dad, I know,' " Jeremiah recalled to WDRB. "I told him [to] be very careful [about] what he said about anything in the house or him. He knew. He knew as much as I could tell him."

Police believe Jacob, who is approximately 5 foot 4 inches and 200 lbs., might be wearing red Nike shoes, while Isabella likely has a turquoise harness around her body.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Harrison County Sheriff's office at (812) 738-3911.

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