Family thankful for community support when son went missing

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, December 3, 2014

NATCHEZ — The teenager who disappeared Monday morning was apparently feeling overwhelmed with concerns about school and left the state for the day before ultimately returning safely home early Tuesday morning.

Silas Whitaker, 17, left his Natchez-area home for school in his vehicle Monday morning, but never made it to classes.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office put out notices to be on the lookout for the teen and searched highways and back roads for his vehicle. The story quickly spread across social media and prompted spontaneous prayer vigils in Natchez and Woodville Monday evening.

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Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said the search for Whitaker was called off early Tuesday morning after he walked into his family home shortly before 4 a.m.

“We were sitting in the living room when we saw him walk up,” said Dick Whitaker, Silas’ father. “I don’t think there’s a word for how we felt. We were overjoyed, relieved.”

Dick Whitaker said his son had felt overwhelmed by the pressures of school and felt like he needed to get away.

“He seems a lot better (Tuesday),” Dick said. “When he was away, he realized he needed to come home, and he did that on his own.”

During the day, the family and law enforcement were not able to reach Silas because he left his cell phone and other personal items at home, which acquaintances said was not unusual.

Dick Whitaker said the family wanted to thank the community for its prayers and support.

“Knowing you can’t contact your kid, and knowing they are upset or overwhelmed, you just don’t know what to do at the time — you can only approach God,” he said.

“God works through things, and if we trust him, he can use it for the best. We have got to take life a little slower and reevaluate.”

An ACSO spokesperson said Tuesday the office couldn’t disclose more information on the case because the matter involves a juvenile.