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'We're all just praising God': Kerry Brooks, missing Shively teen, found safe in Austin, Texas

Shively Police said 14-year-old Kerry Brooks was found in Texas by an Austin Police Department officer late Monday night.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Shively Police confirmed that a 14-year-old boy who has been missing since before Christmas has been found safe, hundreds of miles from home.

In a press release, Sgt. Patrick Allen with Shively PD said Kerry Brooks was found in Austin, Texas late Monday night by an officer with the Austin Police Department, more than a week after his disappearance.

Tuesday morning, multiple family members said on Facebook that Brooks had been found in Austin. According to a post in the "Bring home Kerry Brooks" Facebook group, an officer recognized Brooks from photos that had been shared on social media after his disappearance.

Sgt. Allen said there is an investigation into how Brooks ended up in Texas and said it is "likely" that criminal charges will be sought. Additional details on how Brooks was found have not been released.

Austin Police released a statement via Twitter confirming Kerry was found safe and a suspect has been detained. They also said plans are underway to reunite Kerry with his family. 

The Shively community is celebrating Brooks' safe return.

"We are all just praising God today," Laura Netherton, a member of Dixie Valley Church of God said.

This huge weight was lifted off my shoulders knowing he was okay," Hannah Hamilton said. She's Brooks' youth pastor at Dixie Valley Church of God.

Netherton has known Kerry for years. She says she doesn't know what to say when she sees him again, but she knows what she'll do.

"Sometimes there's no words," Netherton said. "Just want to hold him and tell him I love him."

Hamilton has been Brook's youth pastor for two years. She said his spirit is like no other - always picking up presents for others in the church.

"He was always thinking of how he could make others happy," Hamilton said. "You don't know Kerry if you don't love Kerry."

Both women say prayer and faith have gotten them, and the rest of the community, through this difficult time. As excited as they are that Brooks is home, they have questions.

"What happened," Hamilton asked. "What's in Texas? Where has he been for eight days? Did somebody take him?"

There are questions police say they can't answer at this time.

Hamilton and Netherton hope for the best, but are prepared to support and uplift him no matter what.

Brooks, who has autism and ADHD, had been last seen in Shively on Dec. 19 when he went to visit a nearby nursing home, according to his guardian.

Staff at the nursing home, Signature Healthcare at Rockford, said Brooks visited often but didn't show up on Sunday. Staff members told WHAS11 they checked the security cameras and couldn't find him.

Members of the Shively community organized search parties and posted on Facebook in an effort to bring Brooks home safe.

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