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Missing 8-year-old boy found in Fontana

September 7, 2010 12:33:58 AM PDT
An 8-year-old boy who was missing from Ontario was found safe on Tuesday after setting off on a solo adventure that sent relatives into a panic.Anthony Leon was found 13 miles away from his home.

The boy had apparently gotten into a fight with his mother on Monday. Police said he was upset, called his mom at work and said he was leaving to live with his father. By the time the mother returned home, the boy had already packed his things and left.

"Because he has family just a few houses away, the children tend to run back and forth relatively unmonitored, so it wasn't anything out of the ordinary for him to be outside the house," said Natalie Kopperud of the Ontario Police Department.

Anthony's father lives two houses from his mother in Ontario. When the mother went to the father's house, the boy had not arrived.

Police launched an exhaustive all-night search for Anthony, combing the area around the parents' homes.

Anthony was finally found after he borrowed a stranger's cell phone to call his mother on Tuesday morning. Anthony said he took a bus to get to Fontana and spent the night on a bench.

When asked why he left home, he said, "I wanted to go visit my dad."

Anthony's dad owns a salvage yard in Fontana, and police believe the boy may have associated that location with his dad. He was found one block away from the salvage yard.

Police said a custody battle between the parents may have been the reason why the child went searching for his father.

"He was mad with the thought of not being able to be with his father," Kopperud said.

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