Missing 2-year-old found safe after Amber Alert - WSMV News 4

Missing 2-year-old found safe after Amber Alert

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Cael & Austin Whitehead Cael & Austin Whitehead

A 2-year-old boy from Houston County is safe and his father is in custody following a Tennessee statewide Amber Alert on Wednesday.

Authorities canceled the Amber Alert after an observant driver spotted the boy, his father and their vehicle as they sped down Interstate 24 toward the state border.

"A citizen in a car had seen the billboard that you see on the interstate," said Marion County Sheriff Ronnie 'Bo' Burnett.

Austin Whitehead, 23, was able to cover about 150 miles from his home in Erin, TN, to Marion County near Chattanooga before being spotted.

When the driver saw the vehicle described in the Amber Alert, he first called his wife to have her double-check the license plate number online then called the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

"He actually followed it from the other side of Monteagle into Marion County, and so he actually stayed with it until we made the stop," Burnett said.

A pair of truck drivers then attempted to slow the driver until the Marion County Sheriff's Department, South Pittsburg Police, Kimball Police and THP arrived to take the father into custody, according to THP.

Officials said Whitehead surrendered without incident.

"You never know what could happen in a situation like this. It could have turned violent. It could have turned deadly," Burnett said.

Whitehead has a criminal history in Clarksville, including an aggravated domestic assault charge, but at this point officials have not said why he ran.

Now, he faces aggravated assault charges and possibly kidnapping.

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