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Missing Cannon Falls boy 'wanted some alone time'

Cannon Falls police still don't know where Nick Hoffman was, but they know he's safe now.

The 15-year-old Cannon Falls boy returned home late Monday after authorities spent most of the day looking for him, said Cannon Falls police Chief Jeff McCormick. Hoffman was the target of a wide search triggered after he was discovered missing that morning.

McCormick said Hoffman was found unharmed and that he had apparently left the family house willingly. The teen was found around 10:45 p.m. in his bedroom, where he was attempting to hide after having snuck back in, McCormick said.

"We're looking at a kid that wanted some alone time," he said. "And all of a sudden, it just started to snowball on him."

Despite being "physically and emotionally exhausted," Hoffman was believed to be warm when found and was likely not harmed by the elements, the chief said.

Concern abounded after it was discovered Hoffman had left the house without winter clothing. Authorities knew Hoffman -- who McCormick said was not hospitalized after the incident -- had left the house with a blanket a pillow.

McCormick halted the search Monday evening, just before a winter storm dumped several inches of snow on the Cannon Falls area overnight. He said indications are that Hoffman was not in danger during the incident.

Police have yet to piece together a timeline on what happened Monday to Hoffman, but will wait to question him "until he's on emotionally steady ground," McCormick said.

It is clear that Hoffman had no idea his disappearance would illicit such a response, McCormick said.

The chief said neither Hoffman nor anyone who may have helped him Monday will face criminal charges.