Grayson Goolsby

Grayson Goolsby, 7, of Grapeland

Dozens of area law enforcement officers, as well as hundreds of community volunteers, mobilized in Grapeland Saturday to find a missing 7-year-old boy. Grayson Goolsby was missing for more than five hours before being found, safe and sound, at a friend's house.

Grayson, the son of Ashley and Jeremy Goolsby – and grandson of Chad and Carol Goolsby – went missing Saturday afternoon. He was found and returned to his parents that night.

But not before law enforcement officers from the Grapeland Police Department, the Houston County Sheriffs Department, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice K9 Units, the US Marshall’s East Texas Law Enforcement, and South Texas Law Enforcement led a community-wide search.

“I’m grateful to everyone that helped look for Grayson,” his mother, Ashley, said. “Our community came together to help.

“Words can not describe how thankful our family is to all of them.”

Grayson went missing at about 3 p.m. from his home in Sandy Circle, near the elementary school.

At approximately 8:30 p.m., friends contacted family members and said Grayson was at their house. Law enforcement officers picked him up and returned him to his family by 9:15 p.m.

The friends had been at the Goolsby home earlier in the day. They left but came back and picked up Grayson.

The incident mobilized much of the community

When his parents realized the boy was missing, they began calling friends and other family members, and going door-to-door to look for Grayson.

As skies grew dark, a search party of hundreds of community volunteers assembled in the elementary school's parking lot to scour the area around the home, as well as the construction area around the new school.

“Tonight, my little hometown of Grapeland rallied behind the Goolsbys and came out in force to help search for Grayson,” said Dana Goolsby, a Palestine city council member who is the boy's cousin. “It was a surreal feeling as we pulled into town, where we were met by hundreds of people who were determined to help reunite Grayson with his family.

“Thank you to everyone who helped search, who offered to help, who called/texted, who waited with and supported our family, and who shared our call for help on social media.

“I know the Goolsbys are grateful and forever touched by your kindness. I’m especially proud to be from Grapeland tonight.”

Sgt. Ryan Martin, of the Houston County Sheriff’s Office, said parents should call 911 immediately if they are sure their child is missing.

“Give the dispatcher as much information as possible,” Martin said, including the child’s name, age, height, weight, clothing, medical issues, and where and when the child was last seen.