Dozens of searchers were beating the brush Wednesday night for a missing Neosho teen before he was discovered safe and sound at about 9 p.m. at a convenience store.
Neosho police officers and deputies with the Newton County Sheriff’s Department joined volunteers and Neosho school officials in searching for 13-year-old Tyler Peacher, who was reported as last being seen behind Neosho High School at about 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Volunteers fanned out and searched the grounds and wooded area around the high school, looked in culverts and drainage ditches, scoured residential neighborhoods around the school and even checked inside the building and on the roof. All to no avail.
Searchers worried they would not find the teen that night, as temperatures fell into the upper 30s.
Then, one got word. He had been found at Kwik Mart, located on East McKinney Street ear Missouri Highway 86.
Robert Shepherd, who lives near the convenience store, said the youth showed up at his house at about 5:30 p.m.
“He wanted to play with my son,” Shepherd said. “My boy had been at his birthday party and knew him.”
Shepherd said he noticed something “off” almost immediately.
“He asked what time it was and I told him it was about 5:30,” Shepherd said. “He said he didn’t have to be home until midnight. I thought that was odd, because it’s a school night. My kids are in by 9 on a school night.”
Shepherd called his oldest son to take Tyler home. However, just moments before his oldest son was to arrive, Tyler left, saying he had to meet his parents at the high school.
“I called 911,” he said. “Then I get an Amber Alert on my phone about it.”
Looking over at the doorway of the convenience store, where the boy was being scolded by his father as police officers looked on, Shepherd added: “They found him. That’s all that matters. That’s what’s important, that they found him and he’s healthy.”