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Special Needs Boy Goes Missing From School, Found About Two Hours Later

A Little Rock mother and father say they want answers after their son's school called to say he was missing. The boy came home about two hours later.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- A Little Rock mother and father say they're still terrified when thinking about what happened to their special needs son on Tuesday.

The parents say their 12-year-old boy just walked away from school and went missing for nearly two hours.

The boy wandered away from Cloverdale Middle School in Little Rock.

Kevontae Herne is mentally handicapped and his mother says he's done this before, but he's usually found quickly.

That wasn't the case this time.

His father, Michael Herne said, "My heart was in my stomach."

As the minutes went by the Hernes' got more concerned.

They say Kevontae went missing from Cloverdale Middle School just after 3:00 on Tuesday.

The family helped the school and police in a frantic search.

The boy's mother, Stacie Herne, said, "It was kind of emotional because I was like how do you lose him?"

Herne says the route from school to home is a dangerous one.

She says her son had to cross over railroad tracks and cross a busy intersection at South University to make it home.

It's about a two mile trip.

Thankfully, the boy returned home to his mother's arms just before 5:00.

Herne said, "I think anything could've happened to him."

With a mental disability, the Herne's say their 12-year-old functions as a five or six year old, so they feel the school should keep a better eye on him.

Michael Herne said, "They've got to be better with their special needs children."

But according to a Little Rock police report, a school employee tried to follow Kevontae when he wandered off.

The report states the boy fled and couldn't be found.

Stacie Herne said, "I feel like they just let him go."

She says there's no excuse and someone should be held accountable for a child that went missing.

Herne said, "Because I feel like if we continue to let them get away with what they're doing, I mean he's not safe...not even at school."

A Little Rock School District spokeswoman did send us this statement, "A male student at Cloverdale left campus around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday without authorization.  As one staff person was pursuing the student,  he also called the student’s parent by cell phone.  School administrators and school security were also notified.  Officials continued to  pursue the student, however, he disappeared into the neighborhood.  School personnel, LRSD safety and security officials as well as LRPD continued to search for the student until they were notified around 4:50 p.m. that the student had apparently walked to his home, nearby, and was safe. While no policy can prevent all students from leaving campus without permission, we do have procedural safeguards in place.  They include monitoring and visibility plans with assigned personnel - to help ensure the safety and security of students and staff.  When and if a student leaves campus without authorization, notification goes to administrators, staff, security officers and parents, per LRSD’s protocol. We are thankful that yesterday’s search for the student ended with his safe return home."

The boy's parents say when he got home he was hot and dehydrated but otherwise OK.

His mother says he told them, he got lost but didn't say much else about what happened.

Right now, the 12-year-old is inside a treatment facility specializing in mental health.   

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