Missing New Brighton teen found safe at friend's house

  • Article by: JIM ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 26, 2012 - 7:13 PM

Will Michael Ricci was found at the home of a friend.

The New Brighton Police Department is seeking the public's assistance in locating Will Michael Ricci, 16.

Photo: Sjones, New Brighton Police Department

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A 16-year-old New Brighton boy missing for the past five days has been found safe at the home of a friend in Mounds View, authorities said Wednesday.

Will Michael Ricci had not been seen since about 4 a.m. Friday, but police told his family Wednesday afternoon that he had been found unharmed. "We don't know all the details," said Manuel Rodriguez, who is Ricci's stepfather. "We just got a call from the police that he had been found."

Rodriguez and his wife, Janet Rodriguez-Ricci, had mounted a frantic search for the boy, involving the New Brighton Police Department and the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). The parents of the friend apparently were unaware Ricci had been reported missing, Rodriguez said.

"As much as you try to get the word out, some people don't get it," said Bob Jacobson, New Brighton police chief and public safety director. Police followed several leads that led to Mounds View, including tracing a trail of cellphone calls. "It all came together," Jacobson said.

The boy left of his own accord, and nothing criminal was involved in his disappearance, he added.

Ricci has mental-health issues requiring daily medication that he had left behind, according to Rodriguez. That had heightened the family's concern. On Wednesday, he was being transferred to a hospital for evaluation.

Worry over Ricci's welfare put a cloud over the family's Christmas holiday. "But we have other kids, so we had to do what we had to do," Rodriguez said. "At least we had a Christmas we'll always remember."

Jim Anderson • 651-925-5039 Twitter: StribJAnderson

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