UPDATE: 9-year-old Waukon boy found safe - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: 9-year-old Waukon boy found safe

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WAUKON (KWWL) -

Nine-year-old Lance Palmer is safe and back with his parents after he was missing Monday morning for nearly five hours.

His parents say Lance, of the Waukon area, got lost while trying to walk to school - something he didn't tell his parents he planned on doing.

The disappearance prompted an alert from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Iowa State Patrol and the Allamakee County Sheriff's Office.

Lance was eventually found safe at a neighboring farm. While the boy was unharmed, the morning was still very scary for his parents.

"I bawled. I was so relieved that nothing bad did happen to him," Lance's mom Heather Palmer told KWWL Monday afternoon. "You know, you hear so many stories out there anymore with abductions and kids going missing and never being found, and that was my worst fear."

Lance lives in the country just outside Waukon with his grandma, younger sister and Dad, Lucas Palmer, who learned while coming home from his overnight job that Lance was gone. Lance's grandma called Lucas and told him the boy hadn't been home when she woke up.

"I hurry up and got home and realized that he wasn't outside and started looking out behind the house and in the woods and yelling his name and then -- nothing," Lucas Palmer explained.

That all took place around 7 a.m., shortly before Lance was supposed to get on the school bus. Lucas Palmer said he puts his two kids on the bus every school day at 7:30. The bus normally picks the kids up right at the end of their driveway.

Palmer contacted the Allamakee County sheriff, and a search party swept the area surrounding the family's rural home.

"You think the worst and I hoped for the best, and it turned out for the best," Lucas Palmer said.

Eventually, a neighbor called and said the boy was safely with them.

As it turns out, Lucas Palmer said, Lance had decided he wanted to walk to school and didn't inform his grandma.

"He said he just wanted to walk to school, and since we used to live in town, it wasn't that far for him," Palmer explained.

The family moved out to the country about a month ago. Prior to that, Lance lived in Waukon and had only ever walked to school, whereas he now has to take the bus. Walking to Lance's East Elementary School from their new home would be more than five miles.

When Lance got to the top of his gravel road Monday morning, he took a left instead of a right and wound up at his neighbor's farm.

"He just wanted to walk to school, and he's now informed that he's not allowed to do that," Lucas Palmer said. "He has to ride the bus."

Lance spent the rest of Monday with his sister and mom. He plans on being back at school Tuesday.

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Previous story

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa State Patrol and the Allamakee Sheriff's Office are currently searching for a 9-year-old boy. Lance Palmer was last seen walking a gravel road towards school.

Lance was last seen by a neighbor walking on a gravel road near his home, 1833 Moose Road, at 7:15 AM.

Lance is described as 4-feet tall with blond hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans and carrying a sweatshirt and book bag.

Anyone with information about Lance's whereabouts is asked to call their local law enforcement.

KWWL journalist Jerry Gallagher contributed to this story

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