IT'S getting dark. Your five-year-old son has suddenly disappeared. Your husband has made a quick trip to the shop. "Maybe," you think, "he could be with him. He must be with him."

Caroline Forsyth's husband Craig returns without Jesse. They frantically search every inch of their Noosa Heads home. The little blond-haired boy is nowhere to be found.

"I panicked, it was getting dark. I rang the police and started searching the streets," Caroline said.

This happened last Friday about 5pm, and Caroline still feels the pain.

But she has been able to let go of the heavy, lead-like panic that took over her mind and body, all because a 17-year-old female P plater took the time to ask questions.

The nightmare began when Jesse succumbed to the urge to buy himself "a treat'. He scaled a six-foot fence and covered several kilometres down to the shops at Noosa Junction.

By the time his disappearance was noted, he would have navigated his way along footpaths, crossed roads and criss-crossed various pathways to arrive in the middle of the Sunshine Beach Rd roundabout.

The light was fading fast when Year 12 St Andrews Anglican college student and Peregian lifesaver and surf girl entrant India O'Connor spotted Jesse.

"I was just driving through the Junction when I looked in the rear view mirror and noticed him," India said.

"I pulled up off the road, near the service station."

India, who has done advanced studies in nursing and paramedic science at the University of the Sunshine Coast, was just in time to see Jesse venture into the middle of the road.

"He wasn't really frazzled when I approached him," she said. "He was so lovely and very sure of himself - I asked him questions and he said he definitely knew the way home."

At the same time a couple of young men pulled up to offer help. After some discussion, India and the men decided it would probably look better if India took over from there.

"I put him in the car and he was confident he knew the way home - until it got dark and then he was completely lost," India said.

They travelled to Noosa Heads police station - closed. Down to Hastings St Police Beat - closed.

India phoned triple O and explained the situation.

Police followed up and Caroline was told a little boy had been found in Hastings St. But that was too far from home. Caroline couldn't picture him there.

"No he couldn't be in Hastings St," she said.

"I couldn't leave the house in case he came home, so a girlfriend went with police to Hastings St."