Missing Jacksonville boys reunited with family after 8-hour search

A mother is relieved after her son and his friend were found safe Sunday morning after they were reported missing.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A mother is relieved after her son and his friend were found safe Sunday morning following an eight-hour search.

“I really appreciate everybody because they didn’t have to do that but he’s safe and I appreciate it,” said Latoria Foster, mother to one of the boys.

Foster was relieved there was a happy ending after reporting her son and his friend missing early Sunday morning.

Foster said she last saw her son and his friend leaving a house around 5 p.m. Saturday night and walking down Detroit Street in Northwest Jacksonville.

Security camera video showed the two boys right before they left the house Saturday. When they didn’t come back, Foster reported them missing.

She went to social media for help and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office launched a search at 1 a.m.

More than eight hours later, after a Public Safety Alert was sent to residents’ phones and police helicopters circled the sky, the boys were found just after 9 a.m., police said.

It turns out the boys were at another friend’s house.

Foster said the mother of the friend who lives there told the boys they could stay over but had to call their parents for permission. The boys told her they did, but they did not.

After the mother woke up Sunday morning, she watched the news and saw the two boys staying at her house were reported missing. That’s when she called the police.

About 20 minutes later, both boys reunited with their families.

Foster and the grandfather of one of the boys praised all those who helped, especially first responders.

“JSO, I love you guys for doing what you did to make sure you are a found him,” said grandfather Mario Atwaters Sr. “They made sure they stayed out all night looking for him and make sure that they came home safely and they did not stop until they found him. It’s just wonderful just to see him and to see him smiling too. He said I didn’t know so many people cared about me. And I said you would be surprised how many people care about you.”

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