12-year-old Pensacola boy found safe after hours long search

Photo: Eli McIntyre

Photo source: Escambia County Sheriff's Office

A Northwest Florida child at the center of two search efforts has been found. Eli McIntyre's family and several agencies had been searching for him for hours. Police say he was found shortly before 11:20 p.m. at a Sonic restaurant near Chumuckla Highway.

"When you have a child missing for five minutes it is a concern. This one is going on four hours. So, we're very concerned about where he is, and we do have weather coming and we'd like to get him home before that happens," said Pensacola Police Department spokesperson Officer Mike Wood before he was found.

Officer Mike Wood told Channel 3 News Eli, who is on the autism spectrum, is 5'8", and was wearing a white pullover jacket with green and grey stripes and blue jeans.

Police say he has been known to run away, but he is usually found within an hour. Tuesday night, police along with the department's Investigations unit, at least two Escambia County Search and Rescue crews and a K9 unit searched for him near 12th Avenue and Bayou Boulevard. He was initially thought to be in the area of Cordova Mall.

"He's known to a lot of neighbors in this area. He's disappeared before but we've usually found him in this neighborhood or around Cordova Mall, but it's been four hours now. So, we're very concerned about where he is. He usually walks around on foot and we're hoping that once the dogs get here we'll be able to track him down," said Officer Wood during the search.

Earlier in the day he was reported missing by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office (ECSO). Officer Wood said he was found by the sheriff's office and taken to a local facility, that he later left.

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