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12-year-old who fled from Hernando school is found safe

Published Mar. 26, 2014

WEEKI WACHEE — After a five-hour search, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office located a 12-year-old boy who left school shortly after noon Tuesday and disappeared into the nearby Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area.

Isaiah Theo Holland was uninjured. Authorities said he was found about 5 p.m. near Mirage Avenue and Labrador Duck Road, a short distance southeast of Winding Waters K-8 School and outside the wildlife management area.

Deputies and canine teams had been searching throughout the afternoon for Isaiah, who fled from Winding Waters on foot. The Sheriff's Office also deployed all-terrain vehicles, four-wheelers and a helicopter to aid in the search.

A total of 30 units aided in the search, said Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis.

"When you have somebody who is under the age of 11 or 12 and they're missing, you usually call in the cavalry," Nienhuis said. "It's a scary, scary thing."

Deputies said Isaiah left the school, north of Weeki Wachee, at 12:04 p.m. and ran across U.S. 19 into the vast wildlife area. Nienhuis said Isaiah had become upset over something that happened at school, but declined to elaborate.

He said he was worried for the child's welfare in the heavily wooded, coastal wildlife management area, which he described as "dangerous."

"There's a lot of things that can go wrong," he said.

Authorities' concerns included the fact that the National Weather Service was predicting an overnight low temperature of 35 degrees in Hernando County.


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