Missing Boys Found, Suspected Of Crime Spree

12-Year-Old, 14-Year-Old Had Made Plans To Run Away, Sheriff’s Office Says

Two missing boys from Telluride who took off with a truck on Sunday have been found safe and sound in Phoenix, where they are currently being held in police custody, the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

The 12-year-old and 14-year-old boys admitted to running away, to taking the truck and driving it to Phoenix, where they were arrested by the Phoenix Police Department after being suspected of going on a crime spree, said Jennifer Dinsmore with the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office.

The boys were caught shoplifting hats at a department store in Phoenix, according to police.

The white Ford F150 truck that they had taken has not yet been recovered as the boys claim they cannot remember where they left it, Dinsmore said.

A police spokesman in Phoenix said the boys had some cash with them and filled up the truck during the trip.

Neither are old enough to drive.

"It's a bit shocking at their age -- at 12 and 14 years old -- that they were able to drive a vehicle and make it here really in one piece," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Steve Marcos.

The boys spent the night with a complete stranger they met downtown, Marcos said.

Back at home, the San Miguel County Sheriff's Office had been searching most of Wednesday in mines in eastern San Miguel County for the boys.

It capped three days of an extensive search which included an aerial search by fixed wing aircraft and a helicopter as well as ground searchers on foot, ATV and by vehicle.

It's not clear if the boys will have to pay for those search costs.

Boys Took Truck On Sunday

Christopher Ihinger,12, and Danny Eberly, 14, both of Telluride, disappeared on Sunday. The boys took a trip with Christopher’s father, Aaron Ihinger, and Aaron’s fellow climbing partner.

The two men started rock climbing around 11 a.m. and left the boys by the white Ford F-150 truck near the Dolores River to swim.

When the men summited the rock they noticed both the boys and the vehicle were gone.

The men then hiked for several miles and then got a ride from a passerby to the town of Norwood, where they contacted the sheriff’s office.

The boys were reported missing around 7 p.m. Sunday and the sheriff’s office launched an extensive air and ground search that continued on Monday and Tuesday.

"Danny has some driving experience," said Dinsmore.

The weather on Wednesday limited the aerial search but crews on the ground with search dogs had continued to search until word came that they had been located in Phoenix, said Dinsmore.

Interviews with the boys’ friends led investigators to believe the boys may have used the climbing trip as part of a plan to run away to Arizona.

"I'm relieved he's alive. And we can handle what else is coming to us, knowing he's alive," said Laurie Eberly, Danny’s mother.

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