PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) — After close to six hours, 8-year-old Alijah Freeman was found and reunited with his family on Sunday night.
The young boy was reported missing at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon and was last seen playing in the front yard of his home on Leona way in Granite Bay.
Placer County Sheriffs detectives are now trying to determine if a crime was committed or if this was simply a misunderstanding.
Freeman was returned to the neighborhood riding in the back seat of a red sedan with his friend and the man driving the car was taken into custody for questioning.
Sheriffs spokesman Andrew Scott said given the circumstances, Elijah is doing well.
“It’s an 8-year old boy,” said Scott. “He’s very scared. He sees all the lights. When he realizes this has to do with him, he’s frightened.”
The driver of the car was handcuffed without incident, but questions remained as to who he was and his relationship to the boy.
“I’m not sure the man’s relationship, but the woman does live in the area,” Scott said.
Police say the boy was taken out of the county and they have an idea where but wouldn’t share the information only saying the six-hour window Elijah went missing is concerning.
“We want to find out why he disappeared. Did he have permission to take the child? There’s some discrepancy on that, obviously the parents didn’t know who had him is what we’re being told nor where he was at,” said Scott
The search for Freeman brought out full resources from the Sheriffs Department with ground searchers out in the fields and the woods as well as numerous detectives and a scent dog looking for the boy.
Concerned neighbors also joined in the search and hoped for the best. Jene Bernkrant brought his daughter and walked the neighborhood.
“We walked in a bunch of fields ravines and ditches calling his name and hoping we’d see something,” said Bernkrant.
Local teacher Heather Arvin said it was an emotional afternoon, but the search for Freeman brought out the best in her neighbors.
“Everyone in this community has been looking and keeping our eyes open all afternoon it really was an effort,” she said
Elijah was not hurt. He and his friend who were passengers in the car were questioned by police.
Now, sheriff’s deputies have questions for the driver involved as the investigation they say remains ongoing.