A Washington state boy whom authorities had been looking for since last summer flew with his grandfather in August to Missouri, where he was found safe with an aunt last week, an FBI official said.
Law enforcement officials had been trying to track down 8-year-old Breadson John since they conducted a welfare check June 17 at his home in Vancouver, Washington, just across the line from Oregon.
The FBI learned the boy had flown with his grandfather to Kansas City, Missouri, on Aug. 17, said Steve Bernd, a spokesperson with the FBI’s Seattle office.
Information generated from publicity in the case recently led the FBI to Sarcoxie, Missouri, where Breadson was found Friday with an aunt, Bernd said Wednesday.
“The grandfather flew back to Washington state, and Breadson was not with him," he said.
FBI agents are trying to piece together Breadson's movements from June to August and since he arrived in Missouri, Bernd said. Investigators are also trying to determine why he was taken to Missouri and why his custodians, his grandparents, have not been cooperative with investigators.
Bernd said he did not know whether Breadson was enrolled in school.
“You think the worst when you hear a child is missing. Just to get him back safe and alive, everyone is very pleased with how this played out,” he said.
Bernd said Wednesday he was unsure whether Breadson had returned to Washington. He said child welfare authorities there would be involved in determining who will have custody.
It will be up to prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office for Western Washington to determine whether anyone is charged federally, Bernd said.
A representative with the U.S. attorney's office declined to comment Wednesday.
The boy’s grandparents Masterino Machuo and Refoela Refalopei each face a charge of misdemeanor custodial interference, according to records from Clark County District Court in Washington.
They pleaded not guilty in December, court records showed. Machuo is scheduled to go to trial in April and Refalopei in May, according to the court.
Lawyers representing Machuo and Refalopei could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon. Attempts to reach the grandparents Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Vancouver police said in December that family members who had been contacted by detectives had not provided information about Breadson’s whereabouts.
After he disappeared, the FBI said he had ties to or might visit Hawaii, where he was born, or Arizona, Washington or the Federated States of Micronesia.