Jorelys Rivera case influences search for Smyrna boy | News
Smyrna, GA -- The outcomes were very different, but the search for a missing boy in Smyrna on Saturday was influenced by the abduction and murder of Jorelys Rivera, 7, in December.
"That case was always on everybody's mind here," said Smyrna Police Officer Michael Smith. "We certainly wanted a positive outcome, so we were trying to do everything possible. We involved every agency we could so we would have a positive outcome."
PHOTOS | Smyrna Police find missing boy
Kevin Perez, 9, was reported missing by his family around 11 p.m. on Friday night. Police found him at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday at a friend's house, where investigators said he spent the night without telling his mom.
"Oh, I kissed him and hugged him," said Miriam Perez, Kevin's mom. "I'm very happy and appreciative of police."
Early on in the search, Smyrna Police had no evidence of an abduction, but they knew it was possible.
They were all keenly aware of the Rivera case, in which the 7-year-old from Canton was lured into a vacant apartment, molested and murdered, then left in a dumpster.
Smyrna police immediately contacted the GBI, something Canton Police didn't do for days.
Search crews in Smyrna also went through the dumpsters twice and checked every vacant apartment in the complex.
Police found Perez at a friend's apartment during a second door-to-door search on Saturday morning.
Police said he had no idea he was considered missing when they found him.
"He was still wiping the sleep out of his eyes," said Officer Smith. "He had been fast asleep."