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Missing Sauk Rapids teen found safe in Rice

Missing Sauk Rapids teen found safe in Rice Click to Enlarge Photo:

Mar 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm

SAUK RAPIDS, Minn. (KNSI) - A nine-hour search for a missing Sauk Rapids teen who ran away from family members outside a St. Cloud business Saturday ended happily hours later when the boy was discovered alive and well in Rice, a Benton County Sheriff's spokesman said.

Joshua Staebler reportedly ran away from his parents while at at his father's workplace on 2nd Street Southeast in southeast St. Cloud around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Benton County Chief Deputy Troy Heck said.

Family members said Staebler, 13, has developmental disabilities which cause him to function at a lower grade school level, prompting an increased concern for the boy's safety, Heck said.

A search by Benton County deputies assisted by Sauk Rapids firefighters, Benton County Mounted Patrol and a Minnesota State Patrol aircraft overhead turned up no sign of Staebler by early evening.

But hours later, Heck said a concerned citizen spotted the boy in Rice around 10:30 p.m. Saturday and contacted the sheriff's department. Rice is about 16 miles from St. Cloud.

Authorities picked up Joshua and returned him to his parents by late Saturday night.

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