Pierce Crowley's mom: We never lost hope
VideosRye teen returns safely More than 500 volunteers searching for missing Rye teen Rye teenager goes missing
GalleriesThe search for Pierce Crowley
All was right with the world again for Gretchen Crowley on Thursday afternoon after she was reunited earlier in the day with her 15-year-old son Pierce, who had been missing since last week and whose disappearance mobilized hundreds of volunteers to search for the Rye teen.
"We wished for it, hoped for it, prayed for it, and it happened," she said. "He's home."
The Iona Preparatory School student was found unharmed early Thursday morning in Manhattan and was brought home in good health.
"We were all just so elated and relieved," Gretchen Crowley, 52, told Newsday on the phone. "He looks healthy and he's safe."
When police brought him to the family's door around 4 a.m., all the mother of three could do was hug him.
"And again, and again, and again," she said.
The youth was found in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan and brought back to Westchester County by White Plains police, said David Chong, White Plains public safety commissioner.
Two New York City police officers spotted Crowley among a group of teenagers on the street a little after midnight and alerted White Plains detectives who were in the area. It remained unclear why the teenager disappeared and where he had stayed since Friday, when he was last reported seen.
The teen has spent most of the day sleeping and has not told the family much about where he has been the past week, Gretchen Crowley said.
"I'm sure all the particulars will come out over time," his mother said.
No plans have been made as to when he will return to school.
"We haven't had time to even process those kind of things yet," she said.
The family never lost hope, she said, but there were moments when concerns over whether the family would see Pierce again crept into her mind.
"It was a challenge through the whole event not to grapple with negative thoughts," she said. "It leaves an indelible mark. None of us are the same. And that change is a positive one -- to never take anything for granted again."
For his part, the teen seemed happy to be reunited with his family, Chong said.
"He looks like he just walked out and decided to have an adventure," the commissioner said.
In response, White Plains police flooded the Washington Heights area Wednesday with eight detectives, and they informed officers from Manhattan's 34th Precinct that Crowley had been spotted in the area, Chong said.
"We were confident he was OK, that it was still a missing-persons case," Chong said.
Pierce's disappearance after leaving New York-Presbyterian Hospital in White Plains last Friday triggered a nationwide search.
On Tuesday, students at Iona Preparatory School were asked to search their memories for any crumb of information that might advance the search for their classmate.
The Crowley family sent an email to family and friends on Sunday asking for help, saying he was "not feeling well" and in "a fragile state" before he disappeared from "Movie Friday" at the hospital with a friend.
The son of Gretchen and Peter Crowley was also the topic of blog posts and Twitter feeds as part of an online effort to find him. Peter Crowley is chairman of Tarrytown-based Progenics Pharmaceuticals.