RUSSELL COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – The Russell County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed 11-year-old Lucas Guinn White was found Friday morning in Bristol, Virginia, which is in Washington County.
The boy and his father, 67-year-old Jimmy Donald Guinn, were discovered during a traffic stop on Interstate 81 in Washington County. The sheriff’s office said White was recovered and Guinn was taken into custody without incident.
The AMBER Alert was later canceled. Guinn is being held without bond on child abuse and abduction charges at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail.
According to the Russell County Sheriff’s Office, Lucas Guinn left Lebanon Middle School on his own accord Wednesday. No one was able to locate him Thursday, and authorities began investigating his disappearance. Deputies confirmed Lucas was with his father, and believed him to be in imminent danger.
The Amber Alert was not issued until many hours later, just before 7 p.m. The sheriff’s office said calls and tips began coming in withing minutes of the alert activation.
10 On Your Side contacted Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller to ask why it can take so long to issue those alerts.
Geller explained there are five criteria local law enforcement have to meet before an alert is issued, including that the child is in grave danger and that they have gathered all the information the public needs.
“Amber Alert is reserved for the most critical, most severe child abductions,” Geller said. “The fear is if we put it out too often and everyone’s phone is going off all the time, people would become disinterested, they almost become immune to it, and they won’t pay as close attention as they need to.”
The two were thought to be traveling in a 2004 purple freightliner tractor, Virginia license 78471Py. The trucking company’s name was Snow Bird Trucking.
It was also thought that the pair could have abandoned the freightliner tractor and be in a large burgundy pickup diesel truck. Authorities said they could have been traveling north towards West Virginia or Ohio, but on Friday said they determined Lucas was taken to Michigan before traveling back through West Virginia.
The incident remains under investigation and the Russell County Sheriff’s Office said additional charges are pending.