Missing Spring Lake boy found
Posted February 4, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009
Spring Lake, N.C. — After an hourlong search Wednesday, Cumberland County authorities found a 5-year-old boy who had disappeared from a school bus stop.
Zecharigah Manuel Akins was found at a friend's home at about 12:30 p.m., said Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.
The boy was waiting at a bus stop near the intersection of Odell Road and Verlie Drive at about 7 a.m. Wednesday morning when he disappeared, Tanna said
His mother, Victoria Akins, said she sent him to the stop, not knowing that schools had been delayed two hours because of the weather.
"I was sick this morning, so I told him to go ahead," Akins said. "He scared me."
Cumberland County Schools has an automated phone message that goes out to all parents when classes are delayed or closed because of bad weather. Officials at Manchester Elementary School said Akins had changed her phone number and didn't notify them of the change.
Akins said she went home sick from her job at a nearby Hampton Inn at about 9 a.m. and noticed school buses on the road. She called authorities when she realized her son never arrived at Manchester Elementary School, which is about 1½ to 2 miles from their home.
"There goes my heart. I just fell down," she said about hearing her son wasn't in school. "I'm glad he's OK."
Zecharigah was alone at the bus stop and was cold and tired of waiting for the school bus, so he walked to a friend's home to warm up.
"I (went) to Daniel's house (to) use the bathroom (and) have a snack," he said, adding that he and his friend were "playing swords."
Akins said she plans to keep a closer eye on her son.
"He's not going to be outside riding the bike," she said.