Wayne County Sheriff Jody Ashley said authorities are actively searching for Richard Dearman

Authorities are searching for a Mississippi father who allegedly left his son stranded in the woods for over 24 hours.

According to Wayne County Sheriff Jody Ashley, on Oct. 18 Richard Dearman left the 5-year-old child after telling him to stand by a tree until he returned.

“He told him he thought the law was behind him,” Ashley said. “They would turn down a dirt road, they would get out the vehicle way in the woods in a wooded area. He would tell him to stand by a tree and wait and he would be back to get him.”

Police found Dearman’s truck at the location.

Richard DearmanCredit: Wayne County Sheriff's Department
Credit: Wayne County Sheriff's Department

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After 24 hours the child woke up alone so wandered for nearly a mile in the wilderness searching for his father before he found help from a homeowner who lived in the Brewertown community, the sheriff said in a statement. The boy had minor cuts.

“It makes you mad he would do something like this,” Ashley said of Dearman. “There are a lot of things that could have happened to this child in the woods. I don’t know a history of drug arrests with this man or not, we are checking everything, but we are cutting warrants for him now.”

Once found, Dearman will be charged with child endangerment and will possibly face more charges, Ashley said.

Any information that can help find Dearman should be referred to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office 601-735-2323.