A mother’s tears of anguish turned to tears of joy Friday after RCMP located her 13-year-old son who she hadn’t seen for nearly 24 hours.
Natalie Phelps-Townsend – cell phone in one hand and Tim Hortons cup in the other – was organizing a search outside SaveOn Foods on Promontory when she received the word.
The young boy had been missing since Thursday afternoon when he left home. Friends and family had searched through the night and by Friday afternoon, Phelps-Townsend was desperate.
A plea on social media to search for the missing teen brought nearly 40 people to the SaveOn parking lot.
While some plotted search points on maps, and others set off to print posters, more people began to arrive.
“It’s been nearly 24 hours,” she told searchers tearfully. “We’re getting desperate.”
But shortly after the group began breaking up to retrace places that had already been searched, word came that the boy had been found by RCMP at a friend-of-a-friend’s house.
He had apparently spent the night outside and was found by two students who knew him from school. Many Chilliwack teens also were spreading through social media, including SnapChat stories.
13-year-old #Chilliwack boy missing since Thursday has been found.
— Greg Knill (@Chillout2Day) October 20, 2017
The news brought tears to some of the searchers, and relief to the family.
“The RCMP are bringing him home!” the mother cried.
Replied one of the searchers with a hug: “Then you go home.”
RCMP thanked the public for their assistance locating the boy.
His mom echoed that gratitude: “I can never express exactly how grateful I am to everyone who posted, shared, and came out to help search for him,” said Phelps-Townsend in a Facebook post. “I can never thank you enough.”