SPRING VALLEY (CNS) - A 12-year-old East County boy whose nearly 12-hour disappearance prompted law enforcement personnel and citizen volunteers to launch an intensive search was home safe Tuesday.
William Gear Jr. of Spring Valley left his family's home about 8:15 a.m. Monday on his bicycle but did not arrive for classes at nearby La Presa Middle School, according to sheriff's officials.
School administrators notified his father, who in turn made an emergency call to report his son missing.
Deputies and search-and-rescue volunteers combed the area on foot and by helicopter throughout the afternoon and into the early evening. Shortly after 6:30 p.m., William was found unharmed on Mount Vernon Street in Lemon Grove, authorities said.
The boy's father told a local news station the straight-A pupil had skipped school and hid in a park several miles from home all day because he was upset over recent deaths in his family. The youngster initially claimed he had been kidnapped, but quickly admitted the truth, the man said.
THIS IS A STORY UPDATE. For an earlier version, read below.
SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A 12-year-old Spring Valley boy whose disappearance prompted law enforcement personnel and volunteers to spend hours conducting a ground and air search was home safe Tuesday, authorities said.
William Patrick Gear, Jr. was last seen leaving his home in the 8700 block of Ildica Street at about 8:15 a.m. Monday. The boy was on his way to La Presa Middle School, but did not show up for class.
Gear was found safe in Berry Street Park in Lemon Grove, which is about three miles from his home, around 6:40p.m. Monday evening.
The boy asked a homeowner in the area for help and called 911. According to the Sheriff's Department, Gear said he had been kidnapped but was safe.
Gear was immediately taken to the Sheriff's substation where deputies interviewed the boy and are investigating exactly what happened.
The boy's disappearance triggered a major search and rescue response from authorities. Deputies canvassed the neighborhood handing out flyers, talking to neighbors, and even looking in bushes.
Gear's father brought the boy home Monday evening, briefly stopping outside the family home to thank investigators and media for help in locating his son.
The boy looked disheveled as he walked into the house, with grass in his hair and on the back of his clothes.
Sheriff's investigators have not identified any possible kidnapping suspects at this time.