SAN DIEGO - 10News spoke exclusively with the father of a 12-year-old boy who sparked a massive search effort in Spring Valley on Monday.
Twelve-year-old William Patrick Gear Jr. – who relatives call Patrick – was last seen about 8:15 a.m. after leaving his Spring Valley home in the 8700 block of Ildica Street. He was riding his blue BMX bicycle on his way to La Presa Middle School, but never made it to school, sparking an intense search.
"It's like a dream," said Patrick's father, William Gear. "It's like it didn't really… didn't even happen. It's like you're in a tunnel. I thought the worst."
Patrick was found safe at about 6:45 p.m. at Berry City Park in Lemon Grove, which is nearly 3 miles away from his home. Gear told 10News when he saw his son, he cried and hugged him.
"He just decided to go to a park, I guess, and when he heard the helicopter, he hid under the bush," said the boy's father. "He was scared. He heard his name."
Eleven hours after disappearing, Patrick knocked on the door of a home and made up a story that he had been kidnapped. Less than an hour later, he was back in the arms of his family with two simple words.
"He said, 'I'm sorry,' cried," said Gear. "Big lesson learned. I mean, he's a straight A student… no problems. He's just had some deaths in his recent past, so he's just dealing with those and you know we all make mistakes."
When asked if the child would return to school on Tuesday, Gear said he was not sure.