VIENNA — A local man is facing several charges after a search for his missing child led police to discover a marijuana growing operation.

Jonathan K. Lehr, 41, was charged with marijuana cultivation, criminal possession of marijuana and endangering the welfare of a child after the growing operation was discovered during a search for Lehr’s 3-year-old son, Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty said in a news release.

The child was found safe following a four-hour search Sunday.

The state Department of Health and Human Services also is investigating, Liberty said.

Ben Lehr, who has special needs, was reported missing at 1:45 p.m., Sunday, about 15 minutes after Jonathan Lehr spent about 15 minutes searching the woods around his house, Liberty said.

More than 50 people — including Kennebec and Franklin County sheriff’s deputies, many with dogs; wardens; state police and Vienna and Mount Vernon rescuers — conducted the search.

“Maine Warden Service Pilot (Dan Default)…located the missing child, who was shirtless, disoriented and dehydrated, in 3-foot-tall goldenrod approximately 700 yards from his home,” Liberty said. “The child was treated by rescue…at the scene and released.”

Warden Service spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte told the Sun Journal newspaper Default was able to spot Ben because he had taken off his camouflage pajama top and his skin stood out in the green field.

Deputies located the marijuana growing operation in Lehr’s house on Vienna Mountain Road, Liberty said. Deputies seized 147 marijuana plants, approximately 1/4 pound of processed marijuana and growing equipment, Liberty said.

Liberty commended the quickly-organized search party.

“This situation reflects well on the…Maine Warden Service rescue capabilities,” Liberty said. “Had it not been for the warden pilot, and the 3-year-old child had stayed alone in the woods (Sunday) night, the outcome would have been tragic.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.