By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – A 15-year with Asperger’s Syndrome was found safe Thursday morning following an all-night search after he wandered away from his home on County Road 121 in Yalobusha County. Sheriff Lance Humphreys reported the teenager was spotted by a Lafayette County deputy around 9 a.m. following an intense search in both counties. The teen traveled an estimated seven miles from his home before he was spotted on Hwy. 9 W.
Humphreys reported the 15 year-old walked away from his house around 5:10 p.m. Wednesday night after a minor disagreement. He said a family member tried to convince him to come back home but he walked into the woods. The family searched for several hours before contacting authorities.
“We got the call around 11:15 last night and searched until almost 2:30 a.m. before regrouping this morning around 7 a.m.,” the sheriff reported. “It was a tough night for a search, the rain kept us from using dogs or helicopters.”
A helicopter from the Mississippi Air National Guard in Tupelo joined the search this morning and had just arrived on the scene when the teenager was spotted by the deputy.
“His family told us he probably would try and avoid us, I think the deputy pounced on him pretty quick when she saw him,” the sheriff said.
Humphreys said almost 20 people including volunteer firemen from O’Tuck and Pine Valley, EMA Director Frank Hyde and EMA Deputy Director Herbie Rogers and Yalobusha deputies searched miles of wooded areas, both on foot and on ATVS in the heavy rain.
“I can’t say enough about our volunteer firefighters, they brought their own ATVS and used their own gas during this search. Without this group, we would have only had a handful of deputies out last night. We covered a lot of miles in the woods, there is no telling how many deer cameras we are going to pop up on,” the sheriff said.
The teenager was checked out by an ambulance crew and released to his family.
“He was hungry, but other than that he was fine. It was a huge relief,” Humphreys added.