UPDATE: Madison police say 7-year-old boy found safe - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Madison police say 7-year-old boy found safe


MADISON (WKOW) -- A Madison family is breathing a huge sigh of relief tonight.

Last seen near his parents' westside home around 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aakash Paneru suddenly disappeared.

After checking with several neighbors, his parents finally called Madison Police just before midnight.

"We've had search teams on Woodside Terrace which is near Midvale Boulevard, all night long,  led by our k-9 dogs," said Madison Police Spokesperson Joel DeSpain early Tuesday morning.

Not just police, but a host of neighborhood volunteers also searched for Aakash through the night.

By 8 a.m. they still hadn't found him, leaving his mother thinking the worst had happened.

"I think somebody took him," said Nirmala Paneru.  "It never happened before.  All those times he go that way and (its a) very good neighborhood.

But, Aakash was just fine.

He walked to a friend's house just a few blocks away.

When Aakash got there, his friend wasn't home, because he had gone on vacation with his mother and sister.

But the friend's father was home and welcomed him inside.

"I just went over there, I wasn't thinking of sleeping there but they said if I wanted, so I did," said Aakash.

A friend of the family, the man never called Aakash's parents to tell them he was there.

While that may sound odd, his mother says there are no hard feelings.

"I don't blame him, you know, I found my son," said Nirmala Paneru.

"I gave her a big hug, but she was still sad," said Aakash.

Aakash couldn't believe so many other people were waiting for him when he got home.

"When they first came out here, I thought I was famous," said Aakash.

Now that his 15 minutes are over, Aakash is left with an important lesson.

"I learned that I always have to tell my mom where I am," said Aakash.

27 News asked Joel DeSpain if the Madison Police Department had questioned the man who allowed Aakash to spend the night at his house.

DeSpain said the man was not the subject of any criminal investigation and refused to release his name or address.

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