3:43 a.m. The missing 10-year-old boy has been found and is at home with his family, being checked out by EMTs, according to Rome police Lt. John Walters.
Ashton Swearinger was found on Tolbert Street behind the Masonic Lodge, huddling next to an air conditioning unit.
We'll have complete details later Friday.
As of 12:14 a.m. Friday, searchers had called in a helicopter to help find a missing Rome 10-year-old.
Rome police officers, along with Floyd police and sheriff’s deputies, were continuing the search for the boy on the streets between North Rome and Celanese and all the way to the Swan Lake mobile home community in Armuchee.
Rome police Lt. John Walters said 10-year-old Ashton Swearinger of Rome was last seen getting off the school bus in front of his home at 404 North Ave. at approximately 3:45 p.m. Thursday.
When he disappeared, Ashton was wearing a red jacket with black stripes, jeans and boots, and was carrying a blue backpack. He is described as 4-feet, 2-inches tall and approximately 80 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.
Anyone with information about Ashton’s whereabouts is urged to call 911.
Police and Floyd County Emergency Management Agency officials set up a search command post in a vacant lot across from the boy’s home at approximate 8:30 p.m. Rome police also alerted local businesses off North Broad Street and in the surrounding areas about the missing child, added Walters.
“We’ll be out here all night long looking for him,” said Terri Davis, a Floyd County police investigator. “And if we can’t find him, we’ll do a man-to-man search with (officers) on the ground looking for him at dawn, when it’s easier to do a ground search.”
Walters said the Sheriff’s Office’s tracking dog Snickers sniffed out a trail down the Armuchee Connector by State Mutual Stadium.
“It could be possible that he wandered off to Swan Lake,” Walters said. “He used to live there.”
Walters said they don’t believe Ashton, who has developmental disabilities, was abducted, as the boy has a history of wandering off.
“He’s done it several times, … at least three (other) times that I’m aware of,” Walters said. “He was the child we found after a four-hour search at the Heritage Point apartments, when the family was living over there. He was playing hide-and seek with us there.”
Walters said with the cold temperatures, he hopes the boy looks for shelter.
“Hopefully, he’ll eventually knock on someone’s door or go inside somewhere and we’ll find him,” he said.