Texas Boy Who Went Missing in 2017 Is Found in Florida: Police

March 31, 2019 Updated: March 31, 2019

A Texas boy who went missing was found safe in Florida about a year and a half later, said police.

Joshua Graham, 9, was located in a suspicious vehicle in Sanford, Florida, with his noncustodial parent, Kenneth Graham, reported ABC13 in Houston.

“Regardless of the circumstances, the feelings of loss and devastation are indescribable when any child is taken from a parent,” Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith told WFTV.

A 9-year-old Texas boy who had been missing since 2017 was found Saturday morning with his father in Sanford, according to Sanford police.

Posted by Orlando Sentinel on Saturday, March 30, 2019

The boy and Graham left in late 2017 without the father notifying his wife about the decision, according to police.

Joshua’s mother had sole custody of the boy at the time, ABC13 reported.

He was filed as a missing person with the status of “abducted by noncustodial parent,” said officials in Texas.

The boy was 7 when he was last seen.

Posted by Fox 8 News on Sunday, March 31, 2019

Smith commended law enforcement for its efforts in tracking down the boy.

“The officers and investigators involved in this case are delighted to have played a significant role in reuniting this mother with her child after two long years. I am proud that the officers responding to this call quickly identified that something didn’t seem right, and those instincts led to this happy conclusion,” the chief said, WFTV reported.

Joshua is now in the custody of Child Protective Services and is waiting for his mother, officers stated.

#BREAKING: A Texas boy missing since 2017 was found early Saturday morning in Sanford, according to police.

Posted by WFTV Channel 9 on Saturday, March 30, 2019

Sanford Police stated that Graham isn’t in custody, and he’s not facing criminal charges.

However, Texas authorities said criminal charges may be filed against him.

Investigators calling on anyone with information regarding this case to contact Sanford Police Department or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS or visit www.crimeline.org.

Missing Children in the United States

There were 464,324 missing children reported in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) in 2017, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Under federal law, when a child is reported missing to law enforcement authorities, they must be entered into the database. In 2016, there were 465,676 entries.

conference on missing and exploited children
Reve Walsh and John Walsh during The National Center For Missing And Exploited Children, the Fraternal Order of the Police and the Justice Department’s 16th Annual Congressional Breakfast at The Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel in Washington, on May 18, 2011. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

“This number represents reports of missing children. That means if a child runs away multiple times in a year, each instance would be entered into NCIC separately and counted in the yearly total. Likewise, if an entry is withdrawn and amended or updated that would also be reflected in the total,” the center said.

In 2017, the center said it had assisted officers and families with more than 27,000 missing children. In those cases, 91 percent were endangered runaways and 5 percent family abductions.

Nancy McBride, the executive director of Florida Outreach at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said most of the runaways involve technology.

“[Technology] has great benefits and some potential risks,” McBride told USA Today in 2017. “It’s important to stay plugged into their lives.” Tech is utilized by online predators, McBride said, who exploit gaps when the child’s relationship with their parents is not the best.

About one in seven children reported missing to the center in 2017 were likely to be victims of child sex trafficking, the center said.