A missing child shut down a local shopping center for hours this weekend, but was found.
On Sunday evening at around 5 p.m., the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office lead a three-hour search for missing 7-year-old Dhrud Dhylipudi, who was later found near vehicle of the person he came with.
FCSO spokesperson Robin Regan said that the length of the search was due to incorrect information that the boy had last been seen going to the bathroom at AMC movie theater at The Collection at Forsyth on Peachtree Parkway.
“The focus of the search was the last place he had been seen, and it later turned out that he was not in that place, so we did have some misinformation,” Regan said.
Regan said that deputies had heard from the group that the boy was with that he had gone to the restroom and never came back.
“The child was with a group of friends going to see a movie [with] one adult chaperone and a group of children,” Regan said. “When we were originally contacted about the missing child, we were told that several people in that group had seen him going into that bathroom.”
Based on the information they had, deputies began a thorough search of the theater, then the surrounding area.
“We began a very in depth search of the entire building,” Regan said. “We cleared out all of the movie theaters one by one, and secured all the exits. Another thing we did simultaneously was secure the perimeter of the shopping center and we were checking each car as it came out.”
Deputies then swept the parking lot, where they were able to find Dhylipudi.
“Once the scene was secured, and we were able to get a lot more deputies on scene, we began a more in depth parking lot search,” Regan said “Around that time, the child was located in the parking lot, not actually in a vehicle, but in the parking lot, and it turned out he had been in the neighbor’s van asleep.”
Regan said that deputies had to use what information they had, and that they were thankful for the community’s response.
“Obviously we’re going to take a missing child seriously and devote a lot of resources to it. Our focus was inside the movie theaters, that’s where we were told that he was missing from, of course,” he said. “We are very appreciative of the response from the community that was very supportive and helpful.”