Missing Boy Watches 9 Day Search Effort From Under His PORCH
(By Paul Thompson, Daily Mail) —A massive search for a missing boy was called off - after he was found hiding in a tiny crawl space under his own house.
Josh Miller, 12, had been missing for nine days as more than 100 volunteers scoured the countryside surrounding his home in Pike County, Indiana.
Police said Josh sneaked back into his house to get food and a change of clothing while his parents were out, and even took snacks from neighbours’ homes.
He had also listened in as dozens of volunteers assembled outside his home to begin round-the-clock searches of nearby scrubland.
When seachers eventually found Josh, ‘he actually had a smile on his face,’ according to Chris Richardson, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
A FBI helicopter with an heat-seeking camera had joined local volunteers on quad bikes and on horseback to search for Josh, after he was reported missing on June 23.
The vast search involved Homeland Security and police from 12 counties, who used dog units and all-terrain vehicles to search for the boy.
They were drafted in after local searches became ‘exhausted’, a police spokesman said.
Police set up a 24-hour command post and looked into sightings of Josh as far away as New Jersey.
He was last seen in a nearby cornfield by relatives, and police began to suspect he was still in the area after food went missing from neighbouring houses.
They even left notes for Josh to find, encouraging him to return home.
The 12-year-old has a history of running away from home, and has done so four times before.
The youngster was eventually found on Saturday afternoon after his parents Dan and Sabrina heard a noise coming from a crawl space under their home.
They called police, and members of the search team went to the house to persuade Josh to come out.
Sheriff Jeremy Britton said the Millers’ house sits on a concrete block foundation, and the little boy had managed to squeeze into a crawl space vent.
Josh was barefoot, and said he didn’t know what had happened to his shoes.
Sheriff Britton said the boy appeared to be in good condition, but he was taken to a local hospital as a precaution.
‘He was dirty and had not had a bath for nine days,’ the sheriff said.
‘He had some insect bites and ticks on him, but I think overall for nine days, he looked pretty good.’
After he was evaluated by doctors, he was taken into state custody while child protection services carry out an investigation.
He said Miller had obtained food from the family home during the nine days when no one was home and changed some clothing during the period.
He said: ‘We’re obviously relieved this is the way it turned out.’
‘We spent a lot of time and resources trying to find him.We’ll continue our investigation into reasons he ran away.’