CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — A missing 10-year-old Cary boy has been found safe, Town of Cary officials said Tuesday morning.
Khristian Joseph, 10, was last seen leaving Pleasant Grove Elementary School on foot at 3:45 p.m. Monday, Cary police said.
Joseph was last seen wearing an olive green jacket, dark blue jeans and black sneakers with neon green laces.
The search for Joseph started after his mother came after school to pick him up, but he was not there, according to police.
School officials then reviewed security footage, which showed a boy leaving the school when students were released for the day, officials said.
The boy on the video went toward nearby woods that back up to Page Road and Interstate 540 and Interstate 40.
Crews searched inside the school three times for Joseph. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol was using thermal imaging in the search.
The Cary Fire Department, Wake County school staffers and Wake County security crews were helping Cary police look for Joseph on Monday night.
The search was suspended around 10 p.m. Monday.
A Cary police official said that Joseph apparently wandered around the woods all night before deciding he needed help.
“[He was in a] pretty heavy wooded area, and it appears like he walked through that wooded area and just come out on Page Road. Evidently he saw some lights up ahead and went to the light,” said Cary Police Department Capt. Keven Tingen.
He went to the front desk of a Sleep Inn on Page Road in Durham where the clerk then called police around 4 a.m.
The man who called police, Zach Timmons, said there was a picture and description of the boy at the front desk and so he recognized Joseph when he walked in.
“When I first saw him I was like, ‘Is this the little boy they were looking for earlier?’ It kind of reminded me of the kids I’ve seen before. I was just hoping he was OK. I asked him if he was OK, asked him if he was hungry. He said, ‘Yes’. I gave him some… Fruit Loops. Called the cops. They showed up, checked him out, and he was OK.”
The employee said the boy was shy and had a cut on his face, but otherwise seemed to be fine.
According to Cary officials, Joseph was returned safely to his mother at 5:15 a.m. today with the help of the Durham Police Department.
“It was great news. You’ve never seen a mother that was more happy to have her child returned. It was a wonderful day. It turned out well,” said Tingen.