Six-hour manhunt ends with a joke

Child's 'help me' note turns out to be a hoax

  • Tuesday, March 18, 2014 5:30pm
  • News

The parents of a 10-year-old Gig Harbor prankster might be looking at a bill from the Sequim Police Department.

On Friday, Dec. 28, at approximately 1:17 p.m. the Sequim Police Department received a call from Applebee’s restaurant at 130 River Road. According to reports, two men and a 10-year-old boy had lunched at the restaurant. They paid for their meal and left. When employees went to clear the table they found a note under the boy’s plate, which, according to one incoming dispatch, "He hardly touched." Scribbled in crayon, the note read, "Help Me."

The Sequim Police Department followed standard procedure in such cases and launched a nearly six-hour investigation. Officers checked local motels and shopping centers and interviewed witnesses. They contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Nine Sequim officers worked on the case, while volunteers searched the area for the vehicle with the two men and child. A charge slip from the restaurant enabled officers to check vehicle registrations and driver’s license information. This eventually led to an address in Gig Harbor. Deputies from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department were deployed to the address where they found the boy safe and in his father’s custody. The father explained that the note was meant as a joke on the child’s part.

Sequim attorney Craig Ritchie will determine whether or not the child’s family will be billed for expenses associated with the six-hour manhunt.

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