Missing 5-year-old found on school bus

Missing 5-year-old found on school bus

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by ANN SHERIDAN / NewsChannel 36
E-mail Ann: ASheridan@WCNC.com

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheridanWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on August 31, 2010 at 7:39 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 31 at 7:55 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It was his first full day of kindergarten, and he'll likely never forget it. That's because 5-year-old Nicholas Fernandez became the center of an intense school and police investigation. 

Fernandez was put on the wrong bus after school. Police say when he didn't show up at his bus stop, his mother got worried and called his school, Ballantyne Elementary.

The school quickly figured out that Nicholas was on bus 647. He was supposed to be on bus 674. 

But when the bus driver looked for Nicholas, she didn't see him on bus 647 either. For about 30 minutes, Nicholas' parents, police and school officials all searched bus stops and surrounding areas for the child. It turns out he was on bus 647 the entire time. 

"It's a mix up. I can understand how it happened. But it's odd that he was on the bus. I don't understand why the driver didn't look for him. It's unbelievable," said the child's father, Edwin Fernandez. "I still don't believe it, but he's happy and he's fine."

School officials say they'll do an internal investigation into what went wrong. CMPD officers say they'll likely investigate, too.

An officer at the scene says the driver was an experienced bus driver who simply didn't walk the bus to make sure the child wasn't there. CMPD says the driver called for the child, and when she didn't see him, the driver got into another car and searched for the child at various bus stops. 

Eventually, one of the people searching for Nicholas did get back on the bus and found the child inside, unharmed.

"He was fine, but he was crying. But he was fine," said Fernandez.

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