The search for a 12-year-old male, who was last in contact with his family at approximately 5 p.m. this evening, ended at approximately 9:30 p.m. when Jaleni Lewis-Castagna was found in the Manahawkin section of Stafford Township.
Barnegat Police Lt. Keith Germain told Patch that the boy was located at the TGI Friday's.
Germain said he had several people in the community that reported seeing the boy in the area of the Regal Cinema and Barnegat police located him in the restaurant a short time later. He said the boy was attempting to run away from his Nautillus Drive home, but he has been returned safely to his mother.
"We greatly appreciate the community support. We had over 300 shares off of our Facebook page and other local media outlets, which of course helps get that message out a lot faster," Germain said.
Germain said the Ocean County Sheriff's k-9 unit, along with local volunteer fire and state police responded. An aerial search had also begun.
"When we have a situation like this, we use all the resources we have available, because it is important to find them sooner rather than later," Germain said.