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Police search for missing Pate's Creek schoolboy

By Diane Wagner

A warrant was issued Tuesday for the arrest of teenager who police say may have kidnapped her nephew, an 11-year-old boy who attends Pate's Creek Elementary School.

Lt. Joe Tammaro of the Henry County Bureau of Police Services said Charles William Johnson, 11, was reported missing on Monday evening.

Johnson failed to show up for classes Monday morning at Pate's Creek, and Tammaro, who would not provide information about the boy's parents, said the boy was last seen at his bus stop on Monday morning.

Police announced late Tuesday that they had issued a warrant on the charge of kidnapping for the boy's aunt, Crystal Joy Keene, 18, of Oakland, Calif.

"Charles was last seen getting into a white passenger vehicle with Ms. Keene in the area of the bus stop before the school bus arrived," Tammaro said.

The boy is black, 4 feet and 11 inches tall, weighing 85 pounds. He has black hair in a four- to five-inch afro and was last seen wearing a button-up shirt with "Spiderman" on the back and dark blue pants that zip off into shorts.

Kenneth Proctor, principal at Pate's Creek, said measures are in place to ensure children are safe when they arrive on school property. Four adults are on hand each morning to watch the children walk from their buses to the building.

"I don't think there's any way that one could slip through," he said.

Proctor said the investigation caused little disruption in the school, although several friends of the missing boy were called to talk to police.

"We are all concerned about Charles," he said. "We are in touch with his parents and are assisting with the investigation as much as we can. But I want to emphasize to our students' parents that their children are safe at school."

Proctor said the school's two counselors were available to speak with children "as needed" but he saw little indication that students were aware that Johnson was missing.

The boy is thought to have been carrying a dark blue backpack containing miscellaneous clothing and a black, feather-down hooded coat with a silver lining. Tammaro said it's not unusual for children to bring a change of clothes for after-school wear, and investigators are not assuming the extra clothes indicate Johnson planned to disappear.

"We're considering everything. We're not ruling anything out," he said. "We're not going to make any assumptions."

Tammaro declined to provide information about the circumstances surrounding his disappearance, citing the boy's age.

"It's a juvenile case," he said. "We have to identify him to get the information out to the public, but we're not releasing the parents' names or other personal information because he is a juvenile."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Henry County Bureau of Police Services at (770) 957-2900.