by Mike Dougherty And Robin Rieger
WEST WHITELAND TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — A troubled teenager who had been missing since Tuesday was found safe early Sunday morning.
Police in West Whiteland Township say a plane with high-tech equipment located 16-year-old Brandon Eckert hiding in the woods near where he went missing.
“I started crying when I saw him and he put his hand on my hand”, said Danielle Eckert. She and her
16-year-old son Brandon were reunited at Paoli Hospital on Mother’s Day. He ran away from his Devereux Kanner Center group home early Tuesday morning and spent almost five days hiding in the woods in the area while West Whiteland Township police, the FBI, Chester County detectives and other agencies tried to locate him
“My heart dropped I was like oh my god. I didn’t know if my kid was alive or dead”, Eckert said.
His mom says Brandon has developmental and emotional problems and has been with Devereux for about a year and a half.
“I put him there because he was acting out”, said Eckert.
She says he was making progress and never thought he would run away. Police notified area residents he was missing and searched every day until just after 12:00 a.m. Sunday. That was when Craig and Sylvia Wagerle heard their doorbell ring and someone knocking. Brandon had come out of the woods behind their home and went to their door for help.
“He was sitting here looking up at me and I recognized his face right away”, said Craig Wagerle.
“He said I’m cold and tired I think I hurt my leg.”
“He was covered head to toe in cuts and scratches,” Sylvia Wagerle said.
” I’m really thankful they called 911 and took him in and warmed him up”, said Danielle Eckert.
She is also thankful for everyone else who looked for him.
Brandon is recovering at Paoli Hospital. He was dehydrated and hungry and had been without his medication for five days. He may have a broken ankle and was covered in ticks. As bad as it sounds he’s expected to be okay. Danielle Eckert says she is trying to decide where they’ll go from here.