61ºF

5-year-old leaves school, walks for 2 hours

Police find child 2 miles from home

Adrian Mitchell

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Chellie Harris said her 5-year-old grandson couldn't sleep all night after he was found two miles from his house while trying to walk home from school Monday.

"This boy was shook up all night long," Harris said of her grandson, Adrian Mitchell.

"We was thumping, heart was thumping all the way there," Harris said. "All I do is just pray. What else you do? And then no answers, no answers, and that's the frustrating part."

Harris said Adrian's dad went to Long Branch Elementary School on the Eastside to pick him up but Adrian wasn't there.

"All I could think is, God, please be with him wherever he is,'" said Brenda Mincey, Adrian's mom. "That's all I could think, just shaking bad thoughts of just not knowing where your child is. That's the worst feeling ever."

Adrian's mom said her son tried to walk home during the school day.

"His teacher told him to go with the walkers. That's what he said -- his teacher told him to go with the walkers," Mincey said. "And I guess when the walkers walked off, he walked, too."

Adrian's mom said he walked in the wrong direction, over three sets of railroad tracks and along dangerous roads.

"Dangerous railroad tracks, semi-trailer trucks, gas companies, everything that way," Harris said. "No sidewalks, no sense of direction at all."

Adrian's family said he had walked for nearly two hours when police found him about two miles from his home on the corner of 46th Street and Buffalo Avenue. A few people saw him around the area and were wondering why a 5-year-old was walking by himself.

"I know he don't have no business walking by himself with that traffic right here," said Bazelias Pantaleon, who saw the boy walking alone.

A Duval County Public Schools spokeswoman released this statement on behalf of the school:

"The safety of our students is one of our highest priorities. It is unfortunate that a student at Long Branch Elementary School left campus yesterday through a means other than the one planned for him. A thorough review of our dismissal procedures at the school has taken place to ensure that circumstances like these do not happen in the future."

Adrian's family is just grateful nothing happened to him.

"There's not enough money to replace a life," said Quentin Clark, Adrian's uncle.