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South Carolina Divorce 101

Divorce is a difficult decision for anyone, whether it's you or your partner who initiates it. It's a painful experience that can leave you feeling shattered and alone in the dark. When you made your wedding vows, you did so with the intention of being together for life. You invested a lot of time and money into your wedding, inviting friends and family from all over South Carolina to share in your joy.

Now, you're faced with the harsh reality that you and your former spouse are no longer together. As your family law attorney in Cross Anchor, SC, we understand how overwhelming this can be. We've assisted many clients through the divorce process and had the knowledge and tools to help them work through it and move on to greener pastures.

The CDH Law Firm Approach to Child Custody in South Carolina

Did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau states that 25% of children younger than 21 live with just one parent while the other parent resides elsewhere in the country? In such circumstances, many families must navigate the complicated and legally complex process of child custody. As seasoned family law attorneys, we have represented clients in all aspects and legal stages of child custody and support.

We focus in providing services for a range of issues, including but not limited to:

  • Drafting Reasonable Proposed Parenting Plans
  • Preparing Child Support Calculations
  • Communication with a Guardian ad Litem (if applicable)
  • Securing De Facto Custodian / Psychological Parent Rights
  • Negotiating Agreements Relating to Child Custody
  • Prosecuting Claims Related to Domestic Violence
  • Prosecuting and Defending Claims for
  • Adoption,
  • Termination of Parental Rights
  • Custody, and
  • Visitation
  • Defending Claims Alleging Abuse / Neglect by the Department of Social Services

Every family has its own distinct characteristics, and as such, child-related agreements must also be customized to fit each unique situation. In South Carolina, our team of skilled family law attorneys takes the time to understand our clients' individual goals and needs and tailor our services accordingly.

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South Carolina Alimony 101

When you get married, you go into the partnership believing that you'll be together forever. It makes sense, then, that most divorcing couples don't know very much about alimony in South Carolina (also referred to as spousal support). They ask questions such as:

  • Who gets alimony?
  • What is a reasonable amount of alimony?

Fortunately, working with a family law lawyer in Cross Anchor, SC, can answer those questions and make alimony easier to understand and approach.

 Family Support Attorney Cross Anchor, SC
Family Law Attorney Cross Anchor, SC

What is Alimony in South Carolina?

Many individuals often mistake alimony for child support, but they are, in fact, two distinct forms of financial obligation and not mutually exclusive. Alimony was established to safeguard a supported spouse in the event of a divorce or separation. For example, a spouse who did not work during the course of the marriage would generally have a stronger alimony claim than a spouse who worked throughout the marriage. Likewise, a spouse who worked throughout the marriage but made less than the other spouse would have a stronger alimony claim than a spouse who worked and earned equivalent income to the supporting spouse.

In many cases, a spouse may choose to stay at home to tend to the children and manage the household. Oftentimes, the spouse who remains at home has sacrificed their career or education to care for the family. In such instances, a divorce could leave the financially weaker spouse in a state of financial turmoil. Without that support system, they will have to start over from scratch. These are some factors the Court will consider in evaluating an appropriate alimony case. Throughout your marriage, you have structured your quality of life based on a budget determined by your finances. While all expenses are shared by both partners, what happens if you have been financially dependent on your spouse and need to support yourself?

At Cobb, Dill, & Hammett, LLC, we aim to assist you in securing the alimony you need to support both yourself and your children. At the same time, we want to ensure that you are not overpaying your spouse, if you are the one required to pay. You may be required to pay an amount that could leave you in a difficult financial situation. Regardless, it's crucial to have the right legal representation to guide you through the alimony process in South Carolina.

The CDH Law Firm Approach to Alimonyin South Carolina

Some people may assume financial responsibilities to a former partner are end with the filing of a divorce decree. However, if the court has mandated alimony payments, then the financial obligations survive. Failure to meet those obligations can lead to serious legal and financial consequences. Family law attorneys at CHSA Law, LLC have years of experience representing clients throughout the divorce process, including alimony determinations.

Our legal services cover many aspects of alimony law, such as:

  • Negotiating Temporary and Final Alimony Payments
  • Modifying Alimony
  • Providing Advice on Reasonable Alimony
  • Filing to Collect Unpaid Alimony

Though our family law attorneys are fearless negotiators and litigators, we always strive to keep your legal proceedings as seamless and straightforward as possible. Our goal is to help reach an agreement on alimony that is reasonable for both you and your spouse. However, compromises aren't always possible. If needed, our lawyers will fight aggressively on your behalf to help ensure your financial rights are protected.

 Law Firm Cross Anchor, SC

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Trust the Cobb, Dill, & Hammett Difference

Dealing with family law cases can be incredibly trying, particularly when it comes to matters of separation or divorce. As your family law attorney in Cross Anchor, SC, we recognize the challenges you're facing. With that in mind, know that we're committed to offering empathetic legal counsel on your behalf, no matter how contentious or confusing your situation may become. Contact our law offices today for your initial family law consultation.

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Latest News in Cross Anchor, SC

Here's how Spartanburg County plans to improve, maintain roads without road fee

Fixing potholes and upgrading many of the county's 1,700 miles of roads and 150 bridges tops the list of goals in a strategic vision plan recently adopted by Spartanburg County Council.The vision plan is non-binding, but is meant to serve as a general roadmap of the council's priorities for the next five years, said County Council Chairman Manning Lynch.The vision plan's top five goals are:? Accelerate the improvement of county roads.? Make strategic use of land to foster quality of...

Fixing potholes and upgrading many of the county's 1,700 miles of roads and 150 bridges tops the list of goals in a strategic vision plan recently adopted by Spartanburg County Council.

The vision plan is non-binding, but is meant to serve as a general roadmap of the council's priorities for the next five years, said County Council Chairman Manning Lynch.

The vision plan's top five goals are:

? Accelerate the improvement of county roads.

? Make strategic use of land to foster quality of life and economic growth.

? Strike a balance between attracting new business and industry, and supporting the growth of small businesses.

? Expand access to affordable housing.

? Champion a vibrant downtown in the city of Spartanburg.

OneSpartanburg's vision planFrom complete trail system to better gateways, what Spartanburg could look like in 2027

It is less detailed than the 331-page comprehensive plan County Council adopted in 2019, which looks at how the county plans to grow over the next serveral decades. That plan is also non-binding. It is also separate from OneSpartanburg's Vision Plan 2.0 that it launched in March.

County Council members noted that much of their plan focuses on creating a healthy business and living environment in and around the city.

With no road fee, Spartanburg County moves forward, revises plan

Last year, Alverson said 45% of county maintained roads and bridges are in poor condition.

"The fact that we're growing tells us we need to change up the way we are approaching our road network," he said. "We need to be more aggressive with that investment, more strategic."

In addition to better publicizing current and pending road improvements, he said more money will be needed. Some on County Council have previously said they would like a new penny sales tax to pay for more road upgrades.

Spartanburg area road projects this yearSpartanburg County 2022 road projects: 2 long-awaited upgrades among many slated to start

This is the first year of county-funded road projects since the $25 road fee was repealed by County Council last September. The fee generated more than $7 million a year for resurfacing.

To replace the $3.95 million in revenues lost , County Council revised the budget by eliminating some county road projects, and deferring others, based on priority.

Alverson said Council's decision to borrow $30 million in 2022 and another $30 million in 2024 for road projects will soften the blow of the road fee repeal.

The borrowing will cost taxpayers an average of $12 more a year in a debt service levy.

The county recently unveiled its road resurfacing program through next year.

The Herald

Improving gateways into downtown Spartanburg

County Administrator Cole Alverson said one key to a vibrant downtown Spartanburg is improving the appearance of the gateways to downtown Spartanburg.

"Some of those leave quite a bit to be desired," he said. "There's a lot of work we can do … to improve people's perception and in doing so we can improve the county at the same time."

Council members Bob Walker and Justin McCorkle, who represent northern and southern Spartanburg County, respectively, said they want to make sure smaller towns in their districts receive attention as well.

Walker said Campobello, Landrum, Inman, Greer and Lyman are all working to improve their central areas.McCorkle's district includes Pacolet and Woodruff and the communities of Pauline, Enoree and Cross Anchor.

"I think there ought to be more opportunity for everybody, thanks to this plan here," McCorkle said.

Councilman David Britt said everyone should benefit if council works toward the goals.

"When we say Spartanburg, we mean everybody, not just the city of Spartanburg," Britt said.

Here is a look at each of the five goals in the vision plan:

Spartanburg County plans to expand zoning

The goal is to "improve the ratio of quality space to newly developed space" by acquiring more land and helping to preserve existing parks and open space for public use. Developers are encouraged to create open space and trails as part of their projects.

In addition, the county plans to expand its zoning that covered southwestern Spartanburg County to other areas in the county. The southwest plan was adopted three years ago with the goal of encouraging more growth along major road arteries while preserving property rights and open spaces in more rural areas.

New leader of SPACENew leader of SPACE: Spartanburg County development causing land encroachment issues

Spartanburg County looks to strike more balance between large and small businesses

Over the years, County Council has awarded tax breaks to hundreds of companies as incentives to locate here. At the same time, some have criticized the council for failing to offer lower tax rates to existing businesses that aren't large enough to qualify for tax breaks.

Alverson said there are 400 companies out of 5,500 businesses in the county with 25 or fewer employees that do business with the county.

The goal is to "create a funding framework to support small business development and foster small business growth."

Expand affordable housing in Spartanburg County

The goal is to "increase the availability of housing units that are affordable." To do that, Alverson said the county should "establish baseline data that defines the need and makes the case for a common agenda," as well as "leverage and support development partnerships to reduce demand gap."

The latest SC Housing Needs Report of census data from 2015 to 2019 shows 22.9% of households in Spartanburg County are "severely" rent-burdened. There were 7,837 households having to spend over 50% of their monthly income on rent. Also, there were 16,682 low-income renter households living in unsubsidized housing in the county.

According to Kelley Ezell at the Upstate Family Resource Center, one's rent shouldn't exceed 30% of their income.

Ready to buy in Spartanburg County?What to know about the housing market, mortgage rates

Champion a vibrant downtown Spartanburg

Downtown Spartanburg has seen continued growth this year with the emergence of more apartments, townhomes, restaurants and other businesses.

"This is really a town that supports the people who live here. This is a place to come to eat, have fun to be with your family, to be entertained," said Katherine O'Neill, chief economic development officer for OneSpartanburg, Inc. "As we recruit more companies out in the county, more have told us how much downtown Spartanburg has factored in their decision."

Alverson said the county should "use economic development tools to attract both business and residents to downtown, improve the aesthetics to the gateways to downtown," work with the city in the site selection and design of the joint city-county government complex, and sell county-owned properties downtown such as the current administration building, the detention center annex and the county employee health clinic "in support of affordable housing, small business and quality space."

Contact Bob Montgomery at bob.montgomery@shj.com. Please support our coverage of Spartanburg County with a digital subscription.

Cross football looking forward to full season

An opportunity to play a full schedule in 2022 has the Cross High football team excited about the potential for success this fall.Due to the lingering COVID-19 virus, Cross was limited to only five games in 2021. The Trojans did not play their first game until Sept. 24 while most teams had already played four games. The Trojans managed just two wins last season, but head coach Shaun Wright sees plenty of potential for more success this season.“First off, getting to play a full 10-game schedule is exciting,” said Wri...

An opportunity to play a full schedule in 2022 has the Cross High football team excited about the potential for success this fall.

Due to the lingering COVID-19 virus, Cross was limited to only five games in 2021. The Trojans did not play their first game until Sept. 24 while most teams had already played four games. The Trojans managed just two wins last season, but head coach Shaun Wright sees plenty of potential for more success this season.

“First off, getting to play a full 10-game schedule is exciting,” said Wright, who took over the program as head coach in 2009. “Knock on wood, hopefully everything will be more normal and our kids will have an opportunity to compete. I feel really good about this team. I am encouraged by what I have seen in the preseason, their work ethic and their attitude. Hopefully all of the excitement and work will translate into more wins.”

Even with the shortened season, the 2021 Trojans were pretty competitive overall. Two of the losses last season, to Baptist Hill and St. John’s, were by a total of five points. And Wright has a solid returning core returning from that team.

“Experience, especially along the front, is probably our strength,” the coach said. “The guys up front will carry us. When you are good up front on both sides of the ball you have a chance to be successful.”

Anchoring the offensive and defensive lines is senior Amonte McCray, a three-sport athlete and the veteran of the unit. Joining him on the offensive line are Jayden Middleton, Ty Bryant, Caleb Cornell and Jayden Smith.

McCray and Middleton also are regulars along the defensive front, joined by Devaughn Sutter and Jacob Sanford.

Several players are sharing the work at linebacker. Seniors include Damion Haines, Santory Jones, Jalen Simmons, and Kriston Moore, along with sophomore Karmello Jones. Working in the secondary are Jamez Way and Jaivon Jefferson at corner, and Preston Fuller and Cayden Ramsey at safety.

As is often the case at the small school level, several players also play integral roles offensively. Way, Jefferson and Fuller are among the top pass-catchers, while Santory Jones and junior Carmello Montgomery are the primary running backs.

Junior Tyler Mungin secured the starting nod at quarterback after a solid preseason. Jerome Thomas, also a junior, will start the season as the backup but Wright feels each can lead the offense effectively.

Cross will open the 2022 season against one of the top teams in Class A, Calhoun County, which played for the Class A Upper State championship last season.

While expectations are high for his own team, Wright feels defending region champion Baptist Hill is the team to beat in a revamped region 8-A. Whale Branch has moved to another region, leaving Military Magnet and St. John’s to battle it out in the four-team league.

“We’re ready to roll,” the coach said. “Still a lot of work to be done but we are making progress. We feel good about our chances.”

Weak Earthquake Rattles South Carolina

According to USGS, a weak earthquake rattled portions of South Carolina early today. At 3:40 am, the weak magnitude 1.6 event struck about 4.3 miles east-northeast of Cross Anchor, almost half way between Greenville and Columbia. The earthquake had a depth of 7.1 miles. One person did use the “Did you feel it?” reporting tool on the USGS website to report they felt the earthquake.Weak earthquakes hit Pageland and Cayce last month and today’s quake was the first to hit South Carolina this month.According to the...

According to USGS, a weak earthquake rattled portions of South Carolina early today. At 3:40 am, the weak magnitude 1.6 event struck about 4.3 miles east-northeast of Cross Anchor, almost half way between Greenville and Columbia. The earthquake had a depth of 7.1 miles. One person did use the “Did you feel it?” reporting tool on the USGS website to report they felt the earthquake.

Weak earthquakes hit Pageland and Cayce last month and today’s quake was the first to hit South Carolina this month.

According to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD), there are approximately 10-15 earthquakes every year in South Carolina, with most not felt by residents; on average, only 3-5 are felt each year. Most of South Carolina’s earthquakes are located in the Middleton Place-Summerville Seismic Zone. The two most significant historical earthquakes to occur in South Carolina were the 1886 Charleston-Summerville quake and the 1913 Union County quake. The 1886 earthquake in Charleston was the most damaging earthquake to ever occur in the eastern United States; it was also the most destructive earthquake in the U.S. during the 19th century.

The 1886 earthquake struck at about 9:50 pm on August 31; it was estimated to have been rated a magnitude 6.9 – 7.3 seismic event. The earthquake was felt as far away as Boston, Massachusetts to the north, Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to the northwest, and New Orleans, Louisiana to the south. The earthquake energy even traveled as far away as Cuba and Bermuda, where some shaking was felt too. The initial earthquake lasted about 45 seconds.

The 1886 Charleston earthquake was responsible for 60 deaths and over $190 million (in 2023 dollars) in damage. The area of major damage extended out 60-100 miles from the epicenter, with some structural damage even reported in central Alabama, Ohio, eastern Kentucky, southern Virginia, and western West Virginia from the initial quake.

A study published in 2008 in the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering hypothesized that if such an earthquake were to strike the region today, it would lead to approximately 900 deaths, 44,000 injuries, and damages in excess of $20 billion in South Carolina alone.

The initial earthquake was followed by an aftershock 10 minutes later; over the first 24 hours, seven additional strong aftershocks hit. Over the following 30 years, a total of 435 aftershocks were measured.

Last year, there was a mysterious swarm of earthquakes just northeast of Columbia. However, that area has been quiet for several months. Today’s earthquake was too far away to be related to seismic activity in that swarm spot.

Cross Anchor family forgoes creature comforts for Simple Times farming

CROSS ANCHOR — Four years ago, the Eubanks family lived in a 4,300-square foot antebellum-style home in Florence, with a TV in every room.Sandra Kay Eubanks, 47, said she and her husband, Stephen, stood in front of the home one day, admiring its beauty, with its stately columns and three stories. It was, in many ways, the picture of success, a dream home.“This is it,” the couple said.Wait, what?“This is it?” Sandra Kay asked. The couple had weathered the miscarriage of ...

CROSS ANCHOR — Four years ago, the Eubanks family lived in a 4,300-square foot antebellum-style home in Florence, with a TV in every room.

Sandra Kay Eubanks, 47, said she and her husband, Stephen, stood in front of the home one day, admiring its beauty, with its stately columns and three stories. It was, in many ways, the picture of success, a dream home.

“This is it,” the couple said.

Wait, what?

“This is it?” Sandra Kay asked. The couple had weathered the miscarriage of twins and other family tragedies in recent years. In that moment, looking at their large, comfortable home, Sandra Kay and Stephen realized there was something more out there, waiting for them.

“We started to rethink where we were going,” Sandra Kay said. “We decided we needed to get back to the basics.”

They spent a year looking for land on which to build a new, simplified life. A weekend road trip brought them to a small town in Tennessee, where they met a Mennonite couple who took them in for a weekend and showed them ways to live more simply.

The Eubanks discovered 58 acres in Cross Anchor and the “purging time” began, Sandra Kay said. The family, with six children, all teenagers, packed their belongings into a storage trailer and moved to Spartanburg County. The eight of them built a deck and added a military tent used by soldiers in Afghanistan.

“If it was good enough for our soldiers, it was good enough for us,” Sandra Kay said. “We were off the grid for the first year.”

There was no running water, although an electric well at the nearby home of Stephen's parents, Jim and Linda, supplied water. The Eubanks' oldest sons, Nicholas and Xander, hauled water in 5-gallon jugs every day back to the dwelling affectionately known as the homestead.

There are now milk cows, miniature donkeys, chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, a peacock and his hen, guinea fowl, bees, emus and five horses on the land, plus a 1-acre organic garden guarded by a gigantic Great Pyrenees named Napoleon.

The Eubanks children, Nicholas, Xander, Anastasia, Melissa, Antony and Jenessa, had been homeschooled, and by the time they moved to Cross Anchor, they had started taking up artisan trades. Xander is a blacksmith, and has a small forge on the property. Anastasia is the “milk maid” and bakes, does farrier work and trains the horses. Melissa is the spinner, “from sheep to shawl,” shearing wool from sheep and a goat, carding the wool and crocheting it into finished pieces. Antony found a talent with glass blowing. Jenessa makes candles and is a potter.

On July 4, 2012, Simple Times Farm was officially born, offering a holiday event that drew about 50 people. The Eubanks children displayed their various trades.

Since then, Sandra Kay has worked to establish the farm's brand as a colonial/early American experience. The family dresses in colonial-style clothing for tours and events at Simple Times. They sell the various produce from their garden, including squash, broccoli, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, lettuce, brussels sprouts and herbs, at the Woodruff Farmers' Market. They also make appearances at the Union and Greenwood county fairs.

“Teaching kids about this era is something she loves to do,” Anastasia said of her mother. “We all love it, sharing knowledge.”

Through a grant from Laurens County, disabled residents come work in the garden, and Sandra Kay, an interpreter for the deaf, teaches them nutrition and exercise. The farm is a “WWOOFer,” or part of the World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farmers, and interns come there to learn about sustainable living. Simple Times also has Good Agricultural Practices certification, and Sandra Kay wants to partner with school districts to grow food to be served in school cafeterias in the future.

“The kids will be able to see where their lunch is being grown,” Sandra Kay said.

On Thursday, Melissa performed spinning demonstrations on the front porch of a small cabin in the activities area, as a cat lounged nearby. She opened a trunk to display wool she dyed using a variety of materials like bark, insects, onion skins and other plants.

Hiccup, a turkey, puffed out his chest and spread his tail feathers to signal to the other turkeys in the yard that he's the top tom.

As Anastasia headed to feed one of the milk cows, Annabelle, she found a chicken sitting atop an egg in the feed bucket. Annabelle gobbled down her feed, as three mini-donkeys quickly grabbed the grains she dropped. Annabelle often provides visitors to Simple Times their very first experiences milking a cow.

“Annabelle was once milked by 200 Girl Scouts in one day,” Anastasia said proudly.

For young visitors to Simple Times, their favorite activity isn't milking the cow, however.

“They love the washing station,” Anastasia said, which includes a handcranked wringer, washboard and tub. “You can go to a museum and see this stuff, but to actually use it, hands on... It's a new experience for them.”

The Eubanks children, who range in age from 18 to mid-20s now, all live on the property. The five youngest still live in the homestead tent, which now has a shower and running water, and sleep in bunk beds. Sandra Kay and Stephen now live in a 220-square-foot shed, also with running water. The family's electricity comes from a solar-powered generator. Everyone uses outhouses on the property.

After the spinning, milking and blacksmithing demonstrations Thursday morning, the children change into contemporary clothing. Xander and Anastasia work as correctional guards — Xander at Tyger River and Anastasia at the juvenile facility in Union County. Melissa works at the Laurens County Library. Nicholas, the oldest at 24, lives in a separate, simple dwelling on the land with his wife, Rebecca, and their 1-month-old, Adielynn.

“The children are adults and can leave,” Sandra Kay said. “But they all want to build on the property.”

Stephen Eubanks is a manager at a plant in Fountain Inn and formerly served in the Navy. When he retires, he wants to devote his time to woodworking.

Last year, Simple Times had 277 visitors. This year, that number was topped by March, with 525 visitors. The family hopes to host 400 guests at the farm's Fourth of July event Saturday, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Hot dogs will be served, and there will be a variety of activities, including a hayride, blacksmithing, spinning, woodworking, Indian trick riders, re-enactors on horseback, and fireworks. Cost is $10.

Since new roadside signs for the farm with the “Certified SC Grown” seal on them went up this week, the farm has received more than 1,000 new hits on social media, Sandra Kay said. Eventually, the Eubanks plan a general store and coffee shop on the property, where the farm's artisan goods, raw milk, eggs and produce will be sold.

“People can get a cup of coffee, sit on the porch and watch the barnyard,” Sandra Kay said. “I can't think of anything better.”

A picnic pavilion, which could be rented for special events, is in the plans, and eventually, the Eubanks will build a family farmhouse with an industrial kitchen, where they will hold cheese and soap making classes. Farm-to-fork dinners will also be held there (and yes, the family plans to have indoor plumbing and bathrooms in the future).

Sandra Kay realizes the family might seem a little different to some. They've heard the rumors — that they're in the witness protection program, having moved around so much (that comes from the family's military background) or that they're trying to start a commune. They've been asked if they're Mormon, Mennonite or Amish.

“We're not any of those things,” Sandra Kay said. “We're just holistic and simplified.”

For the Eubanks family, Cross Anchor is home now, after many years of moving place to place. They have found less is more, as God orchestrated their path there, Sandra Kay said.

“It's been an amazing journey,” she said, with her ever-present smile. “I love Cross Anchor. I love the people here. We decided to jump off the cliff, and we all jumped together. We're here for good, and put down roots which we've never had before.”

For more, visit Simple Times Farm on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SimpleTimesFarm, at the website, www.mysimpletimesfarm.com or call 864-909-4669. The farm is located at 651 New Hope Church Road, Cross Anchor.

Missing 21-month-old boy found alive in Cross Anchor

The odds were stacked against 21-month-old Jason Elijah Burton.At 1:30 p.m. on Friday, his mother, Brittany Burton, reported the toddler missing from the family's home at 250 E. Blackstock Road in a rural area of Spartanburg County near Cross Anchor.Burton was wearing only a long sleeve pajama top and shorts, and did not have on shoes. Temperatures dipped into the low 50s as the search continued overnight.Saturday morning dawned with renewed hope for a positive outcome, but by 2:30 p.m., the situation was ...

The odds were stacked against 21-month-old Jason Elijah Burton.

At 1:30 p.m. on Friday, his mother, Brittany Burton, reported the toddler missing from the family's home at 250 E. Blackstock Road in a rural area of Spartanburg County near Cross Anchor.

Burton was wearing only a long sleeve pajama top and shorts, and did not have on shoes. Temperatures dipped into the low 50s as the search continued overnight.

Saturday morning dawned with renewed hope for a positive outcome, but by 2:30 p.m., the situation was growing more desperate. Nighttime temperatures were expected to drop into the 30s and search dogs, a small army of searchers and a rescue helicopter from the Spartanburg County Sheriff's office equipped with heat sensors had not found a trace of the boy.

Suddenly, a call came in to Sheriff Chuck Wright's mobile command unit that changed everything. A hearty cheer rose up among rescuers and family members who were holding vigil.

"They got him," a family member cried out. "He's alive!"

A few moments later, Burton was brought out of the woods by helicopter and placed back into his mother's arms more than 24 hours after he wandered away.

They boarded an ambulance in a field across from their home until Spartanburg Regional Hospital's Region One helicopter landed to take the boy in as a precaution.

"I'm just glad he is found," Brittany Burton said. "Thank you Jesus. Thank you."

Burton's grandmother, Armenda Vinson, was crying tears of joy as she clutched a small blue teddy bear belonging to the boy.

"I want to thank everyone (who searched) from the bottom of my heart," said Robert Vinson, Burton's grandfather. "They love children and to see their passion for finding my grandson was a blessing to me and my family. This community is fortunate to have men and women like them. To have him returned to us is an answer to our prayers."

Wright said the toddler was found by deputy Jamie Tate and David Fox with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

Wright said they found him sitting on a sand bar in the middle of the Tyger River. The boy was wet, cold and exhausted, but he was otherwise in good health.

He said the department's helicopter had flown over the river twice. Tate and Fox were using kayaks to search the river.

"This is a miracle," Wright said. "A 21-month-old is not supposed to survive a river. This is the best Christmas gift this family or I could've gotten."

As he reflected on the day, Wright said the outcome could have been much different. He recalled the case of 2-year-old William Eschenbach, who disappeared from his family's backyard on March 17, 2009. His body was found two days later in the South Tyger River after he drowned.

Wright called for members of the community to remember the Eschenbach family in their prayers even as they say their thanks for Burton's safe return.

Emergency personnel from Spartanburg and Union counties helped in the rescue efforts.

Wright said Union Sheriff David Taylor slept overnight on the county's mobile command bus. Many other volunteers worked all night to find Burton.

Cross Anchor resident Stephanie O'Dell, 21, arrived at the Burton home at 10 p.m. on Friday to help with the search.

"I have a 2 year old," O'Dell said. "These woods are very dense. You can't even walk through them. It's hard to imagine a child getting far in this. It's like finding a needle in a haystack."

Brig. Gen. James Burt with the S.C. National Guard's 2nd Brigade said 66 guardsmen and women from all over the Upstate were involved in the search. Burt said he was leading a team just upriver from Burton when he was found.

"I believed he was out there. It was just a matter of getting to him," Burt said. "God took care of him."

Family members said Brittany Burton left her son sitting on the living room sofa Friday afternoon and stepped out of the room for a moment. When she returned, he was gone. The family dog is able to open the back door and may have opened the door and Burton got out.

His mother called 911 at 1:30 p.m. Burton's father, Michael Burton, was at work at the time.

The sheriff's office sent out a reverse 911 call to homes in the area, informing residents that the child was missing and to be on the lookout.

Spotty cell phone reception in the area hampered communications, but rescue workers used radios to communicate with each other and air units. At least 200 people helped search for Burton.

"We are ecstatic that we found (Burton) alive," Wright said. "We're so grateful to everyone who helped. I'm very proud of the team we had… We've got a lot of people who care about children and family."

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