JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Amari Gabriel Christiansen, the 6-year-old who has been missing since Thursday, was been found Friday evening and was safe.
Beth Purcell, media contact for Jacksonville Public Safety, said in a press release that Christiansen appeared to be in good health and was undergoing an evaluation from EMS Friday evening.
Officials said he was found under a trailer about a block where he was reported missing. He told police he was hiding under the home and fell asleep then came out because he was hungry. He walked up to a neighbor who alerted law enforcement.
“The investigation is ongoing to determine Amari’s exact movements over the last 24 hours,” said Deputy Chief Ashley Weaver, JPD Investigative Services Deputy Chief.
“In the last 24 hours, more than 100 officers and public safety professionals from local, state and federal agencies have worked tirelessly to locate Amari Gabriel Christiansen,” said Chief Mike Yaniero, Director of Public Safety during a press conference just before 5 p.m. Friday. “We are extremely grateful for their efforts that elated that there was a positive outcome in this case.
“The outpouring of support in our local community by groups, churches, volunteers, neighbors and others is a testament to the great citizens of this community. We truly are One City.”
In a joint press conference held with the FBI Friday morning, Jacksonville Police Chief Michael Yaniero said the incident involving a missing 6-year-old is a “suspicious incident” and could be a possible abduction.
An Amber Alert was issued just before 1:30 a.m. Friday for Amari Gabriel Christiansen, 6. He was last seen getting off his school bus around 4 p.m. Thursday. Jacksonville police issued a missing person notice, which was later updated to an Amber Alert.
Christiansen was last seen in the area of Holiday City Mobile Home Park, 553 Corbin Rd., around 5:45 p.m. on Thursday. He is a Black male, approximately 4-foot-0 and at least 80 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark navy blue coat, a black long sleeve shirt with the wording “Game On,” blue sweatpants, and black shoes. In addition, he is believed to be carrying his Power Ranger backpack and a lunch box with either Minecraft or Paw Patrol on it.
“Somebody, somebody in this community has seen something that is very important to us,” Yaniero said. “And we need to know that.”
Police said at Friday morning’s press conference that they’ve been searching the area for over 12 hours, with assistance from the FBI, area military bases and 50-60 local law enforcement from numerous agencies. The FBI says they have agents that specialize in finding missing children.
In addition, the Jacksonville Fire and Emergency Services Technical Rescue Team was deployed along Northeast Creek. Police K-9 teams and drones were also deployed. The USMC Aviation and the NC Highway Patrol Helicopter is providing assistance in searching by air. Onslow County Emergency Management is assisting with coordination of support from the State Emergency Management Professional Search and Rescue Team.
The FBI and the NC Center for Missing and Exploited Children as well as NC Marine Patrol, Onslow County Probation Parole, Brunswick County Search and Rescue, Southern Pride K9 and community volunteer fire departments are providing assistance and support in this case.
“We appreciate the many law enforcement agencies, community groups, churches and dozens of volunteers who have contacted us to offer assistance,” said Yaniero said.
Yaniero said Christiansen lives right next to a park that law enforcement is basing its search from. He also said they will be widening the search Friday afternoon to cover more areas. Officials also asked anyone interested in helping with the search can contact Onslow County Emergency Management. Once they have enough volunteers, they will organize them to aid in the search.
Anyone wishing to register to volunteer to assist with a search is asked to register with Volunteer Onslow at https://uwonslow.galaxydigital.com. Volunteers will be contacted by Volunteer Onslow with information when and if they are needed.
“Police and other first responders have been working tirelessly to locate Amari,” said Captain Mike Capps, supervisor of JPD Investigative Services Division. “We appreciate the many individuals who have offered assistance with searching for the child.”
Anyone who has information is asked to call the Jacksonville Police Department Det. Kymberly Schott at (910) 938-6414, firstname.lastname@example.org or Crime Stoppers at (910) 938-3273.