Sheriff: Missing Colorado boys found safe in Ariz.

October 5, 2011 - 8:45 PM

DENVER (AP) — Two boys who disappeared in western Colorado three days ago were found safe Wednesday after running away and driving a pickup truck to Arizona, authorities said.

The San Miguel County Sheriff's Office in Colorado said 12-year-old Christopher Ihinger and 14-year-old Danny Eberly were in the custody of Phoenix police. They vanished Sunday while one of the boys' father and another man were rock climbing.

The boys, who are from Telluride, accompanied the adults on the outing but did not go climbing. They instead stayed near a pickup truck belonging to the father.

The sheriff's office said it had information indicating the two might have planned to run away, possibly to Arizona, and that the boys acknowledged taking the truck and driving it to Phoenix.

The adults realized the boys were missing when they reached a point on the climb where they could see the spot where they had left the pickup, according to Eric Wright, who said he was climbing with Christopher's father, Aaron Ihinger. They descended and began walking out when a bear hunter gave them a ride.

Wright said Aaron Ihinger was "shattered, shattered" by the boys' disappearance. Ihinger could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos said the boys were taken into custody for allegedly trying to shoplift baseball caps from a J.C. Penney store. Martos said the boys lied about their identities, but the younger one eventually came clean.

No charges are expected, and the boys were waiting at a juvenile correction center for their parents to pick them up, Martos said.

The truck has not yet been recovered, and the boys said they did not know where they left it.

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Associated Press writer Thomas Peipert contributed to this report.

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