TELLICO PLAINS, Tenn. — A tight-knit community in Monroe County is expressing gratitude and relief after volunteers and law enforcement worked together to find a missing 6-year-old boy safe just a few hours after an AMBER Alert was issued.
The TBI said searchers found young Alijah Kensinger in the woods nearly two miles from his home in Monroe County, saying he was cold but "otherwise in good spirits."
Good Samaritans volunteered to help search for the child Friday morning. The rescuer who spotted him said it was one of the best moments of his life.
"I couldn't breathe. I mean, the heart's just pounding out of your chest. And it was just... it was just awesome," volunteer Stone Gray said. "If it was mine, I'd want everybody in the world looking for him. So I mean, that's why we was out here."
Gray and his search partner, Trenton Devoty, didn't expect to be heroes, but they were both thankful to be part of the search.
"We walked right up on him... it was just the power of God, is all it was," Gray said.
Members of the Monroe County community are massively relieved to have quickly found Alijah, and Sheriff Tommy Jones said it was a miracle.
"Especially with the condition he was found, and at this point into the search, it was very impressive. Like I said, it's just a blessing," Jones said.
The community is now able to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
"It's that feeling of relief that you know, the best, the best possible outcome is what we were able to achieve. And it's an amazing feeling. It's why we do what we do," said Jason Fillyaw, a detective with MCSO. "Then you get the sense of happiness. And you just kind of... just overwhelming you know. You don't know whether to cry, laugh, jump up and down. It's just, it just gets you."
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an AMBER Alert for a missing 6-year-old boy from Tellico Plains early Friday morning.
They said Alijah Kensinger is around 4 feet tall and weighs around 55 pounds, with sandy brown hair and brown eyes. They said he was last seen wearing jeans, a grey hooded jacket with a red zipper as well as orange and black sneakers.
Officials said he went to play in the woods near his home in the area of New Highway 68 in Tellico Plains Thursday afternoon and hadn't been seen since.
Anyone with information about his location should reach out to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office at 423-442-1212 or the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.