Cumberland County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Debbie Tanner says it appears Zecharyah Atkins' mother wasn't feeling well and sent him to his school bus stop without realizing school was delayed by two hours because of the snow.
The 5-year-old says nobody told him anything either after standing and waiting in the cold. Atkins told Eyewitness News he was cold and needed to go to the bathroom and instead of going back home he walked to a nearby friend's house. He then decided to stay and play.
"It was a delay, then I go to Daniel's house to use the bathroom, then I played and have a snack," he said.
The boy's mother, Victoria Akins, said she didn't know there was a two hour school delay when she told him to walk to the bus stop about 6:55 a.m. Wednesday morning.
She says she then went to work, but came home a short time later sick.
"When I got home from work I came home early, I kept noticing school busses and I said 'what's going on here,' there was a two hour delay," she said. "I didn't know that so let me call the school. They said he wasn't there, there goes my heart, but I am glad he is ok."
The family lives off Verlie Drive. Deputies set up a command post at the old Wal-Mart at Highway 87 and Odell Road and began their search.For an hour or so, sheriff's deputies and Spring Lake Police searched for the boy, fearing he may be out in the cold.
They eventually located the Manchester Elementary school student in a neighboring mobile home park. He was safe and sound.