PRINEVILLE, Ore. - (Update: Police chief assures 'no continued danger to any of our children'; adding video, comment)
Prineville's police chief sought to assure the public Thursday that the disappearance of a 10-year-old boy and his later discovery on Highway 26 by a Portland resident doesn't represent any "continued danger," though he could reveal little about the specifics.
The agency issued a public alert that was widely disseminated Tuesday night about the boy, Jayden Mirelez, failing to make it home from Barnes Butte Elementary School, which he was seen leaving around 3 p.m. The public alert came six hours later.
"Although the child left after school, the family did not report it until later that evening, which is why you received our requests for assistance later that night," Police Chief Dale Cummins said Thursday in a post to the department's Facebook page.
He noted there had been "many questions" about the case but added that "we want to be respectful in our response."
"I want to assure you, without giving details, that there is no continued danger to any of our children in this community related to this case," Cummins wrote. "If there was, my department would immediately notify our community of those concerns and work with you to find a solution."
"We are all extremely relieved that Jayden was found safe and want to thank everyone who gave us tips, suggestions or volunteered to help," the police chief added.
Cummins told NewsChannel 21, "I think we got a big response because it was the first week of school and a kid goes missing right away, and of course that's going to concern all the parents of, ‘How did he go missing? DId someone grab him or do I have to have concerns for my own child?’"
“That was really the purpose of the post today, was to let them know that there's absolutely no concern about that,” Cummins said.
Police said late Tuesday night the boy was found along Hwy. 26 by a Portland resident and taken into state protective custody.
Sgt. James Peterson said Mirelez was okay but could not provide further details, citing the ongoing investigation.
He said the boy was found by a Portland resident on Highway 26 and was taken into protective custody by law enforcement and the state Department of Human Services.
"Prineville police would like to thank everyone involved for their quick response and tips," Peterson said in the update, also thanking agencies that helped find the boy.
Earlier Tuesday night, Peterson said Mirelez was last seen leaving Barnes Butte Elementary School on NE Combs Flat Road around 3 p.m.