Mississippi dad abandoned 5-year-old son in woods and fled, police say

Authorities are searching for a Mississippi man accused of abandoning his 5-year-old son in the woods.

Wayne County Sheriff Jody Ashley said they’re searching for 32-year-old Richard Dearman. The sheriff says Dearman told his son they had to hide last Wednesday because “the law was behind him,” and told him to stand by a tree until he returned.

Authorities say the child woke up cold and alone 24 hours later, and eventually walked out of the woods, following the sound of a barking dog at a house where he found help. The sheriff said Monday that the boy had minor cuts, but is OK.

"It makes you mad he would do something like this," Ashley told The Clarion-Ledger. "There are a lot of things that could have happened to this child in the woods. I don't know a history of drug arrests with this man or not, we are checking everything, but we are cutting warrants for him now."

Once found, Dearman faces charges including child endangerment.

It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report