Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

March 1, 2013

Avon authorities find runaway boy

By Steven Penn

AVON — Authorities here searched for about an hour and a half Wednesday before finding a 10-year-old boy who ran away from the ABC’s & 123’s Daycare staff.

The boy made his escape after getting off of a bus that had arrived at ABC’s & 123’s Daycare, 8111 Weston Ave., Avon., at about 2:15 p.m.

With dropping temperatures and spitting snow, Avon Police and Firereacted quickly, setting up a temporary command center in the parking lot of the Hendricks County Flyer. They also asked the Flyer staff to spread the word on social media that they were searching for a boy wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and a yellow back pack.

The boy’s mother and younger siblings took shelter in the Flyer’s conference room until authorities found the boy just before 4 p.m.

“At the time he left the daycare it ... was 2:15 p.m. and he was located in front of the Target store at approximately 3:45 p.m.,” Avon Police Chief Jack Miller said.

He added that the child was enrolled in an after-school program at the daycare.

“He’s actually an Avon student, but he was dropped off at the daycare after school (until the time his mother would pick him up),” Miller said.

ABC’S & 123’s owner Nazli Khan said the daycare followed the correct protocol in response to the incident.

“He didn’t go missing, he ran away,” Khan said. “We took the proper steps of calling the authorities right away ... He didn’t go missing, like we didn’t know where he was, he ran off the bus. When he was coming out of the bus, he took off. We pursued after him and he ducked and he hid somewhere. We couldn’t find him, so we contacted the police within two or three minutes of him doing that. Everybody was on the scene right away, acting the way they needed to ... and doing all the stuff they needed to in order to find him.”

Khan added that she was personally on the scene helping authorities.

“I was involved on the scene immediately,” she said. “I want (the public) to know he wasn’t missing in action, like we didn’t know where he was. He ran away. I want (the public) to know, that within ... five minutes of this happening, a chase was given by one of my teachers immediately. The moment he bolted, she bolted right after him. He outran her and then he hid. So within five minutes, she knew that she couldn’t find him, so she took action right away and we called the police. Within five minutes the police were on the scene.”

Miller said authorities were aided by the detailed description of the child they were given.

“I think in this particular situation we were very fortunate that the daycare was able to give us a very detailed description of the boy,” he said. “That helped tremendously in locating him.”

Another useful tool was social media, something Miller said is very common is today’s public safety process.

“We’ve had a couple of cases —at least one case that I’m aware of — that the social media was directly responsible for locating a runaway,” he said. “I know other agencies also have had that same experience. It’s a real nice tool to have available.”

For instance, the alert posted on the Flyer’s Facebook page garnered 292 “shares” with a total of 27,664 people seeing the post by the time the situation was resolved.

Any situation regarding a missing child is urgent, but Miller said the urgency was exacerbated in Wednesday’s situation because of two reasons.

“There was some urgency because of the age of the child and the weather conditions,” he said. “That added to the urgency.”