DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A missing 11-year-old Daytona Beach boy was found safe in the Jacksonville area Friday morning after he fell asleep in the bed of a pickup truck, police said.
Daytona Beach police said Friday that Eleaser Johnson left his house on Thursday and somehow ended up in the bed of the pickup on Halifax Avenue. The boy’s mother told News 6 partner WJXT-TV Johnson ran away because he didn’t want to do his homework.
News 6 partner WJXT-TV learned the driver of the pickup truck lives in Fernandina Beach but was staying in Daytona Beach Thursday night.
He was unaware the boy was in the truck, traveled to Jacksonville for a construction job on Friday and discovered the boy when he arrived, police said. The driver told WJXT-TV the boy was under a tarp in the pickup truck’s bed and was freezing and terrified.
The driver called police, and the boy was reunited with his family. The driver took the boy to a gas station and gave him pizza, candy bars and soda until Jacksonville Fire Rescue arrived.
“It’s something straight out of a movie. You know, you’re asleep in the back of a pickup truck. I’m assuming he (the driver) took the interstate to get to work, so that, that’s a lot. It’s pretty dangerous, but I’m just glad that he was recovered safely,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said.
Earlier Friday, Daytona Beach police tweeted that Johnson disappeared after last being seen around sunset Thursday on North Wild Olive Avenue.
“I came home from work, and usually when I get home, I do my rounds,” Johnson’s mother, Mercedez Major, told News 6 partner WJXT-TV. “I check the whole house. I make sure E.J.’s (Johnson’s father) is OK and I make sure little E.J.’s OK as well... That’s when the search began.”
Major and Johnson’s father, who shares his name, were shocked to hear where he was found, wondering how he got all the way to Jacksonville.
“It was just shocking. I just think, now that he’s OK, there’s a lot of people out here that’s not good people. And good thing we ran across a good man that made sure he was OK after he found him,” Major said. “I just thank God for that, you know, good people. That we still have good people in this world.”
Check back for updates.
THREAD (1 OF 2): Have you seen this boy, #DaytonaBeach?— Daytona Beach Police (@DaytonaBchPD) January 21, 2022
Eleaser Johnson is 11 years old. He stands around 5 feet tall.
He was last seen on North Wild Olive Avenue around sunset last night (January 20, 2022) wearing a red polo shirt and khaki shorts. pic.twitter.com/iZkhqB9kUK