SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. - A Spalding County teenager who hadn't been seen in almost two years has been found safe and sound.
Aubrey Carroll, who was 15 when he disappeared, was photographed and recorded on video with the Spalding County Sheriff on Facebook.
On the video, Aubrey waves at the camera with a smile.
"I'd like tell y'all thank y'all so much for all your prayers and looking out for my mama," he said. "I'm alright. I'm OK. I've been smiling and y'all should do the same."
"It is absolutely a miraculous tale of how he got from the point of running away from Spaulding County to being back home again," said Sheriff Darrell Dix, Spalding County.
Aubrey was last seen in May of 2016 this week when he left Spalding County High School heading to stay with friends. A motorist later reported to investigators that he picked up Aubrey hitchhiking on County Line Road south of Griffin several days after he had been seen at the high school.
Sheriff Dix said Aubrey hitched a ride at the Flying J truck stop south of Griffin. Later, cellphone pings tracked Aubrey to South Florida and then Texas. The teen ended up in Denver courtesy of a truck driver. Then all over the country.
"California, Oregon, Wyoming, Kansas, Utah, North and South Dakota, other places," said Sheriff Dix.
The sheriff said Aubrey traveled to those places with people who described themselves as hippies living off the grid.
"Traveling with this group of people who just absolutely live off the grid who use cash only and barter for things. There is no indication that he did anything to violate the law," said Sheriff Dix.
The sheriff said Aubrey is well aware of the pain and suffering others were going through when they did not know of his fate.
"He understands the magnitude of it. He understands there were people that were hurt. The big thing now is the fact that it's over," said Sheriff Dix.
Aubrey and his family are getting reacquainted after the sheriff said Aubrey's girlfriend drove him back to Georgia from Chicago.