Authorities have found a 12-year-old boy Thursday after he ran away from home.
Investigators say Travis Covey was found about 8 a.m. near the Jerry Litton Visitor Center in Smithville. He was taken to the hospital for evaluation but will be OK.
Travis first walked off into the woods about 8 a.m. Wednesday after he had an argument with his younger brother. In addition, Travis mistakenly thought he was being punished for wearing his Halloween costume to school, which he really wanted to do.
An officer spotted Travis about 12 hours later in the area of Highway DD and 156th Street near Smithville Lake, but the boy ran into the woods when the officer approached.
Police say the boy has gone missing three times before and each time he has been found safe.
Mark Hutchings sent an email to news media outlets Thursday afternoon thanking them, law enforcement officials, friends, family and strangers who helped lead to Travis' safe return.
In the nearly four-page letter, Hutchings detailed the circumstances that led up to Travis running away and his prior history of running away from home. Some reports had indicated Travis had developmental issues, but the boy's father said that is not the case.
"Besides being very stubborn and bullheaded, Travis' mental health is fine," the father wrote.
He said the boy thought he was in trouble with his parents and his teachers and "did not choose the best choice."
Hutchings said he contacted the sheriff's office only after looking for him for several hours.
"Really, he never really 'runs away' from home as if he never wants to live here any more, he more 'runs away' to get away and be alone for a little while. I cannot disagree with him on this as I personally sometimes need to 'get away fro it all,' sometimes with work and know what he means," Hutchings wrote. "But I do disagree that his actions on getting away from it all, not the best choice, and he just needs to stay in the neighborhood."
A sheriff's deputy had warned Travis the last time he ran away that he would be in trouble if he ran away again and police got called. So when Travis saw the sheriff's office at his home, he panicked, the father explained.
"So now Travis thinks he is royally in trouble. His mind had to be going 100 mph and he did not know what to do," Hutchings wrote. "There's no way for him to talk to us so we can tell him he isn't in as much trouble as he thinks he is in. He sees Angela, myself and a sheriff in our front yard and has nowhere to go without facing 'the wrath of almighty and being in trouble by EVERONE.'"
Hutchings wrote he was personally embarrassed when the news helicopters began to circle his home Wednesday night.
Travis apparently thought he was going to be arrested. He slept next to a hay bail. The next morning, he decided to hike home when someone recognized him from the news coverage and called police.
"This is where I thank the media for putting his picture out there that someone saw on the news this morning and recognized him. If it wasn't for you guys, everyone would of thought it was just someone walking along the road," the father wrote. "Though it was weird/spooky that you guys were camped out in your vans up the street from our house, we have no ill thoughts of you guys being there."
He said the parents didn't speak to reporters because they didn't want to make Travis look bad or have their comments twisted.
"I swear we are not deadbeat/meth-addicted/useless parents," Hutchings wrote.
He wrote effusively his and Travis' mother's gratitude to the various law enforcement agencies that assisted in looking for Travis as well as the "awesome residents" who volunteered to help out.
"We are blessed to be living in such a great community," he wrote.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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