HOUSTON – Missing 17-year-old Wilson Stratton was found safe in northwest Houston on Monday afternoon.
It was the call that his father waited on for more than a week.
Wilson was last seen in River Oaks on Jan. 19. His disappearance was "very concerning, and uncharacteristic of (his) actions or habits," said an organizer with Texas EquuSearch.
Stan Stratton, Wilson Stratton’s father, told KPRC that he was away the night his son went missing.
Stan heard from his missing son late Monday afternoon.
“I love you so much,” Stan said while speaking to his son on the phone. "I understand buddy. Don't worry about that. We're just glad you're safe. I love you so much."
Wilson lost his mother a few years ago, and someone was at the house to check on Wilson the night he disappeared. Wilson had been in his bed, but minutes later, he was gone.
Surveillance video showed Wilson at a nearby convenience store at a Shell gas station at the corner of Willowick and San Felipe at 10:22 p.m. He was wearing a white and green fishing shirt, gray shorts and white tennis shoes. He bought a sandwich and a drink, then walked west.
Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen said the surveillance video of Wilson at the store was a sign that he was not kidnapped.
"If he was being kidnapped, would he go in the convenience store by himself? We feel pretty certain -- the lieutenant is right, you don't know if it's a kidnapping -- but we feel certain this is a missing person," Rosen said.
Wilson did not have a cellphone, a bag or extra money. Authorities said there is nothing that would indicate that he was planning to run away.
Wilson is the grandson of former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom William Stamps Farrish III. His family feared Wilson had been kidnapped, so they delayed announcing his disappearance.
“In the beginning, things were kept kind of quiet because we thought he was possibly being held for ransom,” said Tim Miller, founder of Texas EquuSearch. “But none of those calls came in, so we decided it was time to do a search."
Monday was the second day that EquuSearch sent out teams to comb the area and look for Wilson.
No one immediately knew what happened to Wilson or where he had been since he disappeared a week ago Friday.
They only knew he was found safe in the 7000 block of North Shepherd.
"I'd say, especially to other parents who have not been as fortunate, I don't know how you feel. I can't begin to know. I only know how it feels to get this close. And my heart goes out to you and our prayers are with you," Stan said.
Day 2 if the search for Wilson Stratton...Equusearch heads outPosted by KPRC2 Leigh Frillici on Monday, January 29, 2018
Immediately following that statement, Stratton and his family left the command post and rushed to the hospital to be reunited with his son.
For the friends, family and Texas EquuSearch volunteers, the outcome is what they had prayed for.
In 18 years of searching for the missing, Miller said days like this are beyond rare.
"You know, we always look back at Elizabeth Smart and say we believe in miracles. Well, I think we had another one today," he said.
Wilson's father shared more about his son. He said that his son was deeply affected by losing his mom, that he had been in therapy and on some medication and that he had left the house before, impulsively, but always returned.
The silence was what scared Stan the most.
“Whoever you look to for guidance, we ask you that you look there and try to find somewhere in your memory, inside, anything that might lead us to his return,” Stan said. “Wilson, you are loved by more people than you could possibly know. We know that God will channel the strength of your mother to you and you will come home safely.”