‘My heart was just filled with so much joy’: Grandmother relieved after missing 10-year-old found safe

Boy had been missing for more than 12 hours after spending the night at a friend’s home without permission, family says

Police searched Thursday morning for a missing 10-year-old boy (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family and friends of a 10-year-old boy who had been missing for more than 12 hours were relieved Thursday morning when he was found safe by first responders in Northwest Jacksonville.

The child, who News4JAX is not naming because he is no longer missing, had last been seen around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The family later learned he spent the night at a friend’s home. He was spotted out riding his bicycle Thursday morning by his fraternal grandmother, who was out searching for him.

She picked him up and brought him back to the family. He had no idea investigators had been searching for him for more than eight hours.

“My heart was just filled with so much joy because it could have been on the other end,” the boy’s maternal grandmother, Alycia Williams, said.

She had feared the worst after she and other family members realized the 10-year-old had left on his bicycle without permission Wednesday night.

When he didn’t return later that night, they searched all the usual spots around North Myrtle Avenue near Stanton College Preparatory School where the boy and his friends and brother usually go.

He wasn’t at any of them.

Alycia Williams shares an emotional interview about her missing 10-year-old grandson (WJXT)

Police were called just after 1:15 a.m. Thursday. A command center for the search was set up at the Clanzel Brown Community Center on Moncrief Road, and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue assisted in the search.

After investigating, police told Williams no one had seen him. She said no parent called her daughter to let her know the boy was with them and was OK.

But that was still her hope.

“I’m just praying that wherever he is maybe he fell asleep and the parent just hasn’t woke him up to tell him, ‘Hey, you need to go home,’” Williams said before he was found.

And that turned out to be the case.

“He was at a friend’s house with an adult there, but the adult did not contact his mother,” Williams said. “Maybe they were told he had permission. Maybe he or she went with it and did not confirm it.”

Regardless, Williams and the boy’s other family members are just glad he’s home and safe.

“I heard the horn blowing, and I immediately came up front, and I was like, ‘Where have you been?’ It was not like a fussing. It was more of a, ‘Oh my God, where have you been?!’ I hugged him tight. His other grandmother hugged him tight,” Williams said. “God gave him another opportunity to do right to make sure he does follow his mother’s instructions and do what he is supposed to do as a kid.

“Let’s get some things in order... to make sure this does not happen again. Next time, we may not be so lucky.”

About the Authors:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.