Police: 2 missing 9-year-old boys from Cedar Hills found safe

'It was just numbing because ... you never know,' says aunt of one of the boys

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a long night of searching, two 9-year-old Jacksonville boys were found safe Tuesday morning, police said.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said it was contacted about their disappearance in the Cedar Hills neighborhood about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday after they were last seen about 7:30 p.m. Monday walking in the area. 

"It was just numbing because, we just, you never know," said Kim Owensby, the aunt of one of the boys. "They were just over here the other day and they were having a good time and the next day they’re missing.”

Police said both children told their caregivers they were staying over at each other's house. Owensby told News4Jax that though her nephew and his friend told their parents they were staying at each other's houses, they instead decided to sleep at another friend's house without telling their parents. 

"Their description was because they were bored, was basically what they told," Owensby said. 

But that caused sheer panic for their parents and led to hours of searching. The Sheriff's Office had patrols on the ground and a helicopter above. Flyers were posted on nearby storefronts. 

Owensby said both boys were eventually found safe just after 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Westin neighborhood off Old Middleburg Road. She said the support from the community and law enforcement helped get them through the trying hours and bring the boys home safely. 

"We had mothers coming from the Northside all the way to the Westside just because they had children that age, joining the search parties," Owensby said. "It was really amazing."

The Sheriff's Office did not release details about how police located the boys, but thanked those who had called in tips during the search.

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