Fruit Loops and a phone call: Missing boy reunited with mother after showing up at Durham hotel
Posted February 28
Morrisville, N.C. — 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?"