Joshua Robb, who is autistic, had been missing for more than 24 hours in the San Bernardino National Forest. Loud noises and unfamiliar voices were sure to scare the 8-year-old further into hiding.
That's when his father came up with a plan.
If Josh heard his two favorite songs, he wouldn't be afraid to be found. His father said Alan Jackson's "Good Time" and one by Ozzy Osbourne would do the trick. Deputies played the tunes, along with audio of his father's voice, over their public address system, hoping to find Josh.
Time was running out. Temperatures were in the low-60s overnight, and rain and cold conditions arrived Tuesday morning. Josh was wearing shorts, a T-shirt and sandals.
"I heard them blaring 'No More Tears' and it was a very short time after that, we heard the rescuers had found him," said the boy's father, Ron Robb.
When asked what Ozzy would think about his music helping in the search, his wife Sharon Osbourne said, "He'll probably start crying because of the picture of that little boy with his school jacket."
About 60 people on foot and in vehicles participated in the search. Rescuers were able to find Joshua's shirt, leading them to the boy. He was about a mile and a half from where he was last seen. Rescuers lowered a basket into a steep ravine to bring the child to safety.
"He walked toward them and said, 'Thank you. You saved me,'" said Lt. Rick Els of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
The boy was taken to Loma Linda Hospital for examination.
"Scratch and bruises all over him... I really don't care, just as long as he comes back alive," said the boy's father Ron Robb.
The child was last seen running from Grandview Elementary School on Monday in Twin Peaks, Calif. Staff members chased the child, but could not catch him before he ran into the forest, said San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman.
"He was able to squeeze between the fence and escape into the forest, we believe," said Els.
It's been a tough year for the Robb family.
The Robbs are homeless after a foreclosure, and Joshua was taken by Child Protective Services. Ron Robb said he was determined to see his son at the hospital, but the boy will remain in the custody of child services.
About three weeks ago, CPS took the boy after his mother, Trish, used a soft, quarter-inch nylon rope to secure the child, Ron Robb said. Usually the Robbs used a soft tether to coral the boy, but in the rush to move out of their foreclosed home, they were unable to find it, resorting to nylon rope.