OGDEN -- A 15-year-old runaway boy made it all the way to Phoenix, thanks in part to what police believe was the unwitting generosity of people in the Ogden area.
Lee Cravath, 15, who is autistic, disappeared Friday afternoon from a group home and was found about 6 p.m. Saturday in Phoenix.
Police were worried that Cravath didn't appear to have taken any shoes with him. But the boy apparently managed to panhandle not only the $107 for a bus ticket to Phoenix but also a "nice-looking" pair of boots he was wearing when police found him sitting on a bench in a Phoenix bus station.
"He told police in Phoenix he went to the bus station, found out how much a ticket was and then went to a large party to get the money," said Ogden Police Lt. Scott Conley. "I'm assuming it was the Dew Tour."
Conley said the boy had stayed in a placement facility for children with special needs for three weeks but is from Phoenix.
Ogden Police Lt. Mike Ashment said this is the third time Cravath had left the Waterfall Canyon Academy since he had arrived.
Conley said workers at the facility believe Cravath sneaked out about 3 p.m. Friday through a second-story window and a fire escape when they were distracted.
"He has issues with control and adults," Conley said. "He became upset because of a situation with other clients."
Police were told that Cravath functions mentally about at the level of a 6-year-old and has a history of running away.
Conley said the search through Friday night and Saturday grew larger as time went on. Search and rescue dogs were called to a site on Ogden's East Bench after a possible sighting was reported in the area Saturday.
"I was kind of concerned about that because he was unfamiliar with the area."
Conley said registered sex offenders in the area were contacted by police.
Officers also went door-to-door questioning residents. All in all, about 30 officers from Ogden police and Weber County search and rescue took part in the search for the boy.
Conley said he registered a National Crime Information Center inquiry and an endangered person alert through the Amber Alert System on Saturday.
The NCIC inquiry proved successful, he said.
Conley said Phoenix police were called by a passenger on the bus Cravath took to Phoenix.
He said officers there said Cravath had told the fellow passenger he was a runaway.
When police found him, they checked the NCIC system and found him listed.
One man who arrived on scene just after Cravath was found was Henry Schmidt, of St. George. He is Utah's representative of Team Adam, a nationwide nonprofit organization devoted to searching for missing children.
Schmidt said he was just returning home from Texas where he was helping to search for an 18-month-old child who has been missing for a week.
He flew into Salt Lake City earlier Saturday and drove to St. George just to be notified by Conley moments after he arrived home.
Schmidt said he traded suitcases and headed to Ogden.
Cravath's parents also had driven throughout the night from Phoenix to get to the search site.
Conley said a family friend and counselor to Cravath took custody of the boy until the parents could drive back home.
Standard-Examiner reporter Jasen Asay contributed to this article.