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Police: Boy, 7, found along Route 101 was headed to Walmart to buy Matchbox cars

Union Leader Correspondent

August 24. 2016 12:17PM
Police located a boy shortly after 4 a.m. Wednesday following reports that he had wandered from home and was walking on the breakdown lane of Route 101 eastbound in Epping. (Jason Schreiber)

EPPING – A 7-year-old Fremont boy found wandering along the side of Route 101 early Wednesday morning told police that he left his house and was headed to the Epping Walmart to buy Matchbox cars, police said.

The boy was later reunited with his parents, who were asleep and unaware that he had taken off in the night.

“He walked quite a ways in the dark,” Fremont Detective Sgt. Peter Morelli said.

The boy walked about a mile before passing drivers called State Police and the Rockingham County Sheriff's Department around 4 a.m. after they saw him in the breakdown lane near Exit 6 of Route 101 eastbound.

State Police Lt. Chris Vetter said drivers tried to make contact with the boy, but he ran off. State Police and Epping Police responded to the area to begin searching for the boy.

Fremont officer Greg Huard was nearby and made his way to Route 101 to assist. As Huard crossed into Epping, police said he saw the boy on the side of Beede Hill Road, which is located at the end of the on and off ramps to the highway at Exit 6.

When Huard tried to reach the boy, police said he again tried to run away. Huard was able to assure him that he wasn't in trouble and told him that he was there to help. At that point, the boy allowed Huard to speak to him, police said.

While talking to police, the boy claimed that he was on his way to Walmart to buy Matchbox cars, police said. He also admitted that he left his house on other occasions after his parents were asleep, police said.

A state trooper drove the boy home, where Huard and the trooper informed the boy's parents that he had left. Police said the parents had no idea that their son had ever left the house in the night. Police suggested several ways to better secure the residence.

“There was no crime involved here. This is just a happy ending and there are some good lessons here,” Morelli said.

Fremont police are now encouraging families to review the physical security measures they take in their homes to make sure that young children can't slip away.

Among other things, Morelli said parents should make sure doors are locked and consider adding extra locks.

Vetter said it was fortunate that the boy was found quickly given the heavy traffic on Route 101.

“101 is a dangerous road and there's a lot of traffic at that time of the morning. We're happy that he was found safe and we're appreciative of the motorists that tried to stop and help him,” he said.

General News Public Safety Epping

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