VERONA (KDKA) – A missing boy in Verona was found safe and sound Tuesday morning at a friend’s house.
According to police, A.J. Stotts was reported missing by his mother around midnight.
After 12 hours of searching for the 8-year-old, police finally found him.
“I’m just glad that he’s home and he’s okay. And I want to thank everyone for praying,” Theresa Stotts, A.J.’s mother, said.
The boy seemed to have no idea about the panic he caused overnight. He was found a couple blocks away at a friend’s house having a sleepover that no one knew about.
“I got on my bike and I was playing with my friend before I went to Tyler’s house. Then I [saw] Tyler and asked him if I could come over,” A.J. said.
“The mother did not realize that he did not have permission to stay the night. And that was one of her comments. She thought he had permission. [There’s] some concerns that a parent would allow an 8-year-old to stay the night without verifying that with the actual parents,” RaShall Brackney, A.J.’s aunt, said.
Bloodhounds were called in as the morning grew and there was still no word from A.J.
Friends and neighbors stopped by to pray with the family. Around 9 a.m., police got information from one of A.J.’s friends as to where he may be.
He and his bike received a police escort home.
“Me, my mom and my dad all said I’m not in trouble,” A.J. said.
“No he’s not in trouble. Just glad he’s home. And just make sure that he definitely gets a confirmation before he stays the night at anyone’s house, which won’t be for a while,” Frank Stotts, A.J.’s father, said.