Member Stories

Plano Police Department Turns to Nextdoor to Find Missing 7-Year-Old Boy

Written by Anne Dreshfield

It was every parent’s worst nightmare: a 7-year-old boy, Jaylen T., ran away from home late one afternoon.

After she was unable to find him in her home or yard, Jaylen’s mother immediately called the Plano Police Department, who sprang into action. The police department deployed a team of officers on the ground, a K-9 unit, and a search helicopter, but were unable to find any sign of the boy.

“We pulled out all the stops on this,” said David Tilley, Public Information Officer for the Plano Police Department. “It was concerning to us because we were talking about a 7-year-old boy out alone late at night.”

Then, they turned to social media. A Nextdoor for Public Agencies partner since 2013, the Plano Police Department posted information about Jaylen’s disappearance on Nextdoor, and targeted their post to the seven neighborhoods surrounding where Jaylen lived. They included his photo.

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The Plano Police Department’s post on Nextdoor regarding Jaylen.

A neighbor – a mother herself – saw the police department’s post on Nextdoor and decided to take action. She set out on foot to look for Jaylen, referencing the photo from the Plano Police Department’s post. Incredibly, she soon found Jaylen hiding and was able to alert authorities, who reunited the boy with his worried family.

“It was amazing how that community pulled together to find that little boy,” Officer Tilley said. “It’s just something that you kind of hope will take place, and this was one example where it did.”

Originally reported by the Dallas Morning News, NBC Dallas, and CBS Dallas.

Do you have a story about how you have used Nextdoor in your neighborhood? Let us know.

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