Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh mother breathed a sigh of relief Saturday morning, after a highly publicized overnight search returned her 11-year-old son to his home.
"It was a big relief, shock and relief," Jeri Ford said when her son was found at the home of a friend.
Ford said her son, Jherion Eugene Ford, was upset that he couldn't spend the night with a friend and left their Hewberry Lane apartment at about 11:30 p.m in his bare feet.
Minutes later, when she went out to look for him, Jherion was gone.
The N.C. Center for Missing Persons issued a Silver Alert around 4 a.m. for Jherion, and police and state troopers participated in the search.
After Jherion's photograph was published at about 7:30 a.m., a friend from church called Ford to say Jherion was outside her home. He had traveled about four miles.
"I wouldn't expect him to be in that area, but at the same time he's safe! He's safe," his mother said.
The Silver Alert, often associated with older adults, is issued whenever a missing person is believed to have a cognitive impairment. Police did not specify what might have triggered the alert in Jherion's case.