10-year-old boy found after active search in South Fayette Township area

A nearly four-hour police search for a 10-year-old boy, who ran off into the woods in South Fayette, came to an end just before 9:30 Monday evening.

Beckie Miller of South Fayette Township was driving near the Great Southern Shopping Center about a mile away from where the boy took off and found him.

“I found him by Fresh Thyme [Farmers Market],” Miller said. “He was running, and I just kept tracking him. You could tell he was by himself.”

South Fayette Police Chief John Phoennik said the boy’s mom parked at the Sunoco off Millers Run Road just before 5:30 p.m. Phoennik said the mother left her son in the backseat of the car while she went inside the gas station to get him a snack.

Sunoco employee Natalie Wuenstel saw the gas station’s surveillance video showing how the boy got away.

“He went from the back seat to the front seat and then got out the passenger door,” Wuenstel said.

That’s when the boy ran out of the car right past Wuenstel.

“All I saw him do was run,” Wuenstel said. “The kid never stopped. He just kept going.”

Chief Phoennik said the boy ran down toward Chartiers Creek. It’s a steep drop with a lot of brush.

“The terrain is rough with overbrush and rocks and it’s tough to kind of search at this point, that’s why we’re bringing a K-9 here,” said Phoennik.

The search prompted a big response with officers searching the creek’s banks using thermal drones and K-9s.

With temperatures dropping overnight, there was an added sense of urgency.

Beckie Miller said she came into the Sunoco and heard that the little boy was missing. It wasn’t too long after that she spotted him and immediately called 911. Miller said she was following the boy closely in her car for about 10 minutes until police came to get him.

“He was just swinging his shirt and he looked scared,” she said. “I called 911 and I was a nervous wreck. I just wanted to find him and I’m glad we did.”

Miller said the boy didn’t look like he was hurt. She said when police got him, he looked happy.

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW


Princess Kate apologizes for ‘confusion’ over photo that was recalled by news agencies Russell Wilson indicates he plans to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers Reserve Twp. police issue warning after reports of drivers sneaking through road closure VIDEO: 1 person injured when SUV crashes into building along West Liberty Avenue DOWNLOAD the Channel 11 News app for breaking news alerts