Missing NJ boy found at tree nursery

Malakhai Stewart

June 14, 2012 3:01:56 PM PDT
Gloucester County authorities say a young boy with autism, who went missing on Wednesday evening, has been found safe.

7-year-old Malakhai Stewart was last seen in his backyard at approximately 5:15 p.m. in Clayton, New Jersey.

He was found unharmed around 8:00 a.m. Thursday morning at The Four Seasons Nursery on North Delsea Drive by an employee.

Miguel Castalan explained he was driving past when he saw Malakhai crouched over in a wooded area in the back of the nursery. Authorities were quickly notified.

"We're making sure he's the boy. I called my boss. Michelle called police, police came," said Castalan.

"We're extremely relieved. It's been a very long night," said Clayton Police Chief Dennis Marchei said Thursday morning.

Police believe Malakhai wandered overnight, not staying in the same place.

"We don't believe he was there the entire night because the dogs did track several areas," said Marchei.

The discovery ended a 15-hour search. K-9 units canvassed the area with helicopters flying overhead. Many local residents volunteered.