Sandy police Sgt. Jon Arnold said the boy had been playing at a friend's house when his mother called about 6:30 p.m. to tell him to come home. He wanted to stay, but did eventually leave on his bicycle.
The two residences are only four blocks apart, but when the boy did not arrive at his home in the 8900 South block of 280 East, his parents and family friends began searching. When they failed to find him, Smith's family called Sandy police about 11:30 p.m.
Arnold said it turned out that the boy had ridden to another friend's house and then spent the night, initially unknown to that friend's parents.
"He came in the back door at that friend's house, unknown to the parents there," Arnold said. "In the morning, they found him in their boy's bedroom and told him, 'You need to go home.' "
He did, shocked by the throngs awaiting him. Arnold, who has a 10-year-old boy of his own, said he "had a good talk with the kid.
"He asked what all the TV cameras and police were doing there. I told him, 'We've been looking for you since 11:30 last night. You need to let people know where you're at, you're parents were worried about you."
Police, who indeed had looked for the boy through the night, were about utilize "Reverse 911" calls for the neighborhood as well as door-to-door visits in the area.