Missing Daytona Beach children found after multi-agency search launched

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Daytona Beach police and the Beach Patrol were busy searching for two young children reported missing Tuesday afternoon.

It took nearly two hours to locate 4-year-old Dakota Leonard and 3-year-old Carson Tucker behind a Daytona Beach home.

The children were found in a car behind the home from which they were reported missing. Police said they had looked in the car twice.

A frustrated Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood said his officers failed policing 101 by not spotting the children sooner.

"Thank God they're OK. It's the first place you look, because if you would have missed them and they fell asleep up under that dashboard, they would have been dead," said Chitwood.

The girl's parents, who are grandparents to the boy, said they last saw the children playing in the front yard before they hid in the car, under the dashboard.

"Then, your kids are gone. That's when things are being done to them, you know, unexpected things are being done to them, and that's what kept going through my head and I don't know if I could have lived with myself," said Kim Leonard.

That fear triggered a search that involved police, beach patrol, the sheriff's office and even bloodhounds from the nearby prison. Officers even checked the car twice before finding them.

"At the end of the day they never left this property, and you see all these resources out here," said Chitwood.

Chitwood said he wasn't happy that his officers didn't find the children during their first two searches of the vehicle.

"You can rest assured there will be paint peeling off the ceiling when we get back to headquarters," said Chitwood.

The children were evaluated by emergency medical technicians, who said both were fine.

Police said there will be no criminal investigation or charges in the case.