Itemizer-Observer report

WEST SALEM — On March 20, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office combined forces with Polk County Search and Rescue to locate a runaway teen.

At about 6:07 p.m. the PCSO responded to a Zena Road address on the report of a missing child, according to a PCSO news release. The caller reported their 13-year-old son was missing. Family members had searched the residence and rural property without locating him. Once Deputies arrived on scene, they launched a small drone to scan the property, which was partially wooded. Deputies also searched the residence and outbuildings again. Initial searches were unsuccessful in locating the child.

Polk County Search and Rescue was activated and responded to the scene. Shortly after, another deputy arrived with a larger drone that has forward looking infrared (FLIR) capabilities. The child was located with the drone, sitting in a heavily wooded area not far from the residence.

According to PCSO blotter reports, the child had been watching the searchers and not answering their calls.

The child told deputies he ran away from home because he was upset about not being able to attend school, sports, and spend time with friends due to COVID-19, according to the news release.

The child was evaluated by medics on scene and reunited with his family.

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