Missing Hartwell Teen Found Safe in Helen, GA

scan0001A Hartwell teenager, missing since the end of June, has been found alive and well.

16-year old Harold Wayne Ackerman was last seen at his Bowen Road home in Hartwell on June 26th.  Ackerman had not had any contact with his family or friends in Hart County since then.

Hart County Sheriff Mike Cleveland said the boy was found Saturday in Helen, Georgia.

 “It’s my understanding that somebody recognized him from a missing person photo of him they had seen,” Cleveland said.

According to Hart County Sheriff’s Investigator Sherman Payne, Ackerman was in Helen tubing down the Chestatee River when he was recognized.

The person who spotted Ackerman called White County’s Sheriff department who, in turn, contacted the Helen Police Department.   Officers then picked Ackerman up without incident.

At one point, authorities thought he might have gone to South Carolina to stay with relatives, but he was not there. Cleveland said last week he believed Ackerman might have also gone to Alabama because he also had family there.

Cleveland Ackerman has had a history of going off for several days at a time without telling his parents, but had never been gone this long before.

“This time, the parents had filled out a juvenile complaint form on him,” Cleveland said. “When we got custody of him, we had already talked with juvenile authorities and they had a bed ready for him in Gainesville so that’s where he was taken.”

Ackerman was taken to the Juvenile Detention Center in Gainesville.  Because he is a juvenile, no other information is available regarding the complaint his parents filed nor whether he remains in the Youth Detention Center.