Two years ago, 15-year-old Aubrey Jayce Carroll strolled out of his high school in Griffin, Georgia, and disappeared without a trace. His dad reported him missing, according to NBC News, but was confident his son would come running home at some point. But two years rolled by, and the small southern community feared they might never see Carroll again. Meanwhile, those who missed the teenager conducted candlelight vigils, and the saga even attracted crews from Dateline.
It turns out, however, that Carroll—now 17—was just living the good life out west.
According to Spalding County sheriff Darrell Dix, the teen was touring the country with a group of "people from the Woodstock era in their clothing and lifestyle." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that authorities managed to catch up with Carroll—who'd been using an alias—last month.
"I'd like to tell y'all thank y'all so much for all your prayers and looking out for my momma. I appreciate y'all so much," Carroll, sporting long hair and a Sublime t-shirt, said in a Facebook video on Tuesday. "I'm all right. I'm OK. I've been smiling, and y'all should do the same."
So while Carroll's family spent what might have seemed like an eternity worried sick about the kid, he appears to have been enjoying the sunshine, growing his hair out, and presumably listening to "What I Got" on repeat, living a parent-free life on the road. In the end, he wasn't the victim of some gruesome crime after all.
"He told us that he left on his own, and had not been abducted, hurt, abused, exploited, or harmed in any way," Dix said, adding that Carroll's mother told him to reassure the teen that "he would not be arrested and that he could live as he wanted."
Keep living the dream, Aubrey.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.