Local News

Fruit Loops and a phone call: Missing boy reunited with mother after showing up at Durham hotel

Posted February 28

— A 10-year-old Raleigh boy who went missing from school on Monday was found safe at a Durham hotel early Tuesday and returned to his mother, police said.

Khristian Joseph was last seen at 3:45 p.m. Monday as he was leaving Pleasant Grove Elementary School, at 3605 Pleasant Grove Church Road in Morrisville, on foot. The boy is usually picked up in front of the school by a relative and does not walk home or ride the bus, police said.

Durham police were called to the Sleep Inn hotel at 5208 Page Road at about 4 a.m. Tuesday after a hotel employee found Khristian by himself.

Zach Timmons said he was making coffee when he spotted the boy, who walked through the front doors into the lobby. He was in the same jacket, jeans and sneakers he was described to be wearing when he disappeared.

"He asked me to call somebody. He was ready to go home," Timmons said. "I asked him where he'd been. He said he'd been walking all night in the woods."

He fed Khristian some Fruit Loops, which the boy gobbled up, and called authorities.

Paramedics checked the boy out and said he was physically fine, and Cary police then returned him to his mother shortly after 5 a.m.

Sharon Joseph said she was relieved and overjoyed to have her son back.

The Sleep Inn is less than a mile from Pleasant Grove Elementary, but police estimated Khristian wandered in the woods for up to 2 miles.

Authorities had focused their search for him Monday night around the school and the woods behind it after Khristian was seen on security video walking toward the woods.

Police K-9 officers and fire department personnel assisted in the search.

"It has been a long, drawn-out investigation that turned out wonderfully," Cary police Capt. Kevin Tingen said. "We didn't want a 10-year-old sleeping in the woods all night if he didn't have to."

"Thank God nothing happened to him," Timmons said. "Someone else could have found him, and then who knows?"


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  • Danny McFarland Mar 1, 2017
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    Glad he was found ok. Stories like this tend to have bad endings.

  • Stacie Hagwood Mar 1, 2017
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    I did the near-same thing at his age. Glad he is ok.

  • Kim Stew Feb 28, 2017
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    The story printed is full of holes and suspicion. Someone lured the child into the woods, dropped him off at the hotel and the police should be looking for this person.

    Also, the child should have been taken to a local hospital to be fully examined by a doctor. It is standard operating procedure to do this after a missing child is found. EMS personnel very seldom conduct the physical examination because it is not thorough enough.

  • Susan Olvera Feb 28, 2017
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    I think people are reading into this too much. When I was his age I decided to run away from home over something silly like a barbie doll. Kids can do some strange things, it doesn't always mean there is something sinister at play.

  • Susan Tennant Feb 28, 2017
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    There are many things that may have happened. Maybe he got in trouble at school and was afraid to go home. Kids can do crazy things, They act first and think later! Maybe he decided he wanted to see if he could walk home by himself . Hopefully there was no foul play involved. I am so glad he is safe and back home.

  • Janet Ghumri Feb 28, 2017
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    Why in the world would a 10 year old walk a mile away from school and show up at a hotel?? Something happened in between, that's a lot of hours left unaccounted for. I'm glad he was found safe, that is the best part.

  • Ed Ray Feb 28, 2017
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    Am I the only one here thinking that this was planned so mommy can get some attention. Something just does not add up. He stayed in the woods and then walked to the hotel to tell them to call the police. Yeah 2 and 2 are not adding up to 4 here.

  • Dean Morron Feb 28, 2017
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    There might be more to this story ??? Why would a child that normally gets picked up by a relative decide to wander off and somehow make his way to a motel ???