Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa police find 10-year-old who vanished on way to school

TAMPA — A four-hour search for a missing 10-year-old ended quietly Friday afternoon when the boy sauntered out of a Tampa apartment where he had been hiding most of the day.

Keondraye Williams went missing about 7:15 a.m. after leaving his home in the Meridian Pointe apartments at 2450 Hillsborough Ave. to catch a school bus to Foster Elementary School, police said. He never showed up for class.

A teacher at the school who knows the boy's mother called about 9:30 a.m. to tell her that Keondraye had not arrived, police said. After searching for him on her own for a few minutes, his mother flagged down Tampa police Officer Levi Newton, who was patrolling the complex.

An Amber Alert was issued. Officers quickly printed flyers with Keondraye's picture and distributed them at the complex. They talked to drivers heading into and out of the apartment gates and looked in car trunks for any sign of the missing child. Overhead, a helicopter circled.

"Obviously, we're very concerned about his welfare," said Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy. "We certainly hope that he's with a friend somewhere playing Xbox."

As it turned out, that wasn't far off the mark.

Just after 1:30 p.m., an apartment door opened, and Keondraye, sporting his white-collared school uniform shirt and carrying a backpack full of school supplies, stepped into the breezeway of Building No. 5.

Newton, who was still combing the area, spotted the boy and recognized him.

Keondraye said he had missed the bus that morning. Having ignited his mother's wrath the last time he missed the bus, he decided to just skip school. He went to a friend's apartment, where a 16-year-old girl who was also skipping school allowed him to hide out while she slept.

The boy watched TV all day, unaware of the vast effort unfolding just outside the door. When he spoke with the officers, he began to cry. He asked for his mother.

Later on, TV cameras surrounded the woman as she hustled Keondraye into a car.

"I'm glad that I found my son," said the woman, who declined to give her name to reporters. "That's all I have to say."

She hopped into the driver's seat and drove away.

Dan Sullivan can be reached at (813) 226-3386 or dsullivan@tampabay.com. Follow him on Twitter @Times Dan.

Tampa police find 10-year-old who vanished on way to school 09/20/13 [Last modified: Friday, September 20, 2013 11:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Large brush fire burning in Brooker Creek Preserve near Westchase

    Fire

    A large brush fire is burning early Thursday morning in the Brooker Creek Preserve just north of Oldsmar near Westchase, but appears to be contained, according to reports.

  2. Clearwater confronts a new wave of homeless people, many addicted to spice

    Public Safety

    CLEARWATER — Having lived on the streets since 2014, when he said God ordered him to go out and watch over the homeless, Scott Elfstrom has seen new faces brought out by the typical drugs, despair or plain bad luck.

    Clearwater police Sgt. Rodney Johnson talks to a group of homeless people near the Clearwater Police Department. Johnson has worked to decrease the amount of spice being used in the homeless population.
  3. Preservation group's efforts help revitalize Hudson Cemetery

    Human Interest

    HUDSON — Since the 1970s, the area's unhoused could count on Hudson Cemetery as a place to eat, drink and doze. They would crouch behind bushes on the 2 acres — sandwiched between an ABC liquor store and a shopping center — and leave behind beer cans, cigarette butts and rotting clothes. They would …

    Dennis Kingsley, former president of the Hudson Cemetery Preservation Association, looks at recently cleaned headstones at the cemetery. It got a new fence and was cleared of weeds and brush in June.
  4. Adam Putnam
  5. Forecast: Summertime heat, late-day showers soldier on in Tampa Bay

    Weather

    The summertime pattern of hot temperatures and afternoon showers continues through the second half of the week across Tampa Bay.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]