By WV Metronews Staff
Summers County Sheriff Justin Faris tells MetroNews an 11-year-old boy from Jumping Branch is going to be okay after running away from home and spending the cold night exposed to conditions.
A large search party found the boy Friday afternoon. Sheriff Faris said he was relieved and thankful.
“We were really starting to get concerned and I could see it other officer’s faces. The longer it takes in something like this the lesser chance you have for a happy ending. It was getting into the real dark time.”
Jayden Reese suffered some hypothermia but was otherwise in pretty good shape. He was checked out at a nearby hospital.
“There was a barely a scratch on him. He walked through pitch dark without a light and I don’t know if he has a scratch on him,” Faris said.
The search started late Thursday and broke off at 4 a.m. Friday. The volunteers reassembled at first light and went out again. Faris said at one point they had more than 100 volunteers and they were able to do a grid search.
Reese was actually found near his home. He was hiding from search party members. Faris said he traveled several miles through the night.
“He was found near his residence but he had actually been all over the area. He had traveled several, several miles over 21 hours,” Faris said.
The cold weather brought the biggest concern and Reese wasn’t well clothed. He had on blue shorts, a camouflaged jacket with no shirt underneath, and a pair of Muck boots when he disappeared.
Faris said they’ll sort out why the boy ran away from home later. He said right now the most important thing is that he’s okay.
Faris praises first responders, police agencies and the volunteers who were part of the response.