Nearly 100 people combed the area along Highway 15-501 near Prestonwood Drive looking for 12-year-old Demrick Bassnight and his 6-year-old brother B.J.
Their parents reported them missing around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, when they were not home by dark.
Search teams knocked on doors and outbuildings. Two bloodhounds were brought in a few hours later. At that point, searchers began to worry.
"It was pretty cold out here, and they weren't dressed in too-warm clothes, so we were worried about hypothermia," says Tony Tucker, Chatham County emergency director.
Just when they were preparing to call off the hunt until daybreak, searchers received some good news. The boys had returned to their home on their own around 3:30 a.m.
One of the boys said they went out into the woods because they were scared their parents were angry at them. Then, they got lost.
The boys were out in the cold for about nine hours, but the paramedics checked them over and said they were fine. andJulie Moos