Like most 8-year-olds, Ny-Kiah Jeffers likes to play outside, but as darkness fell on Wednesday night outside his home on Pikeswood Drive in Randallstown, his great-grandmother grew concerned when he had disappeared from his front yard.
"He didn't come home last night,” said Louise Jones, “I just pray that he's okay, and I'm trusting God. I always trust God."
The search carried through the night, and detectives returned to canvas the neighborhood on Thursday.
Ny-Kiah's great grandmother, who has raised him since he was two months old, worried that he may have been a prime target for strangers. A quick check of the Maryland Sex Offender Registry turns up 14 such offenders living within a mile of where he went missing.
"People when they come in the neighborhood say that he's so friendly that they ask everybody, 'Who is that little boy?' A lot of them refer to him as Pikeswood Mayor because he knows everybody," said Jones.
At noon on Thursday, some 18 hours after his disappearance, workers at an Antwerpen dealership on Liberty Road spotted a young boy in the woods behind their lot, and police caught up with him in a nearby field.
There was no wrongdoing after all.
It appears Ny-Kiah had spotted police cars the night before outside his home and hid out in a wooded area less than two blocks away fearing that he was in trouble for failing to make it home by dark.
It's a mistake in judgment by an 8-year-old that his great-grandmother is all too happy to set aside.
"I put on a shirt I've always had and it says, 'God has never failed me, but he sure has scared me a few times', and it fits this situation,” Jones said. “My baby is home. Thank you. Thanks for all of your prayers."
ABC2 News spoke to Ny-Diah's father and he still wonders why his son hid from police last night and tried to run from them again when they finally caught up with him this morning.
He said the 8-year old has already decided he wants to be a police officer when he grows up.
— BACO Public Safety (@BACOPoliceFire) June 9, 2016