The FBI investigated the case in 2016 and posted on its Facebook page that he may have been with friends in Jones County at the time.
In the video Carroll thanked everyone for their prayers and said he was just fine.
Authorities said Carroll traveled extensively on the west coast and Midwest. During this time, he became a part of a group of people who live by bartering, operating with cash only, and traveling from state to state. They basically looked like a group of people from the “Woodstock era in their clothing and life style.”
Here is the information released by Capt. Dwyane Jones:
"After meeting with his parents and considering all options, it was determined to not reach out to him and wait until he had another law enforcement encounter. He had a support group that he was with and all indications were that he was happy and was thriving. He did not appear to be in any danger. We felt that if we reached out to him too soon he would disappear again, lose what support he had, and the search would have to start all over again, more than likely under a new alias. It was determined by all that this would be the safest course of action since we were so close. Since Carroll was now 17, he was no longer a juvenile and in consulting with the FBI and District Attorney's Office, it was determined that there was no lawful way to force him to come back to Georgia. We made preparations to leave Spalding County immediately if he had an encounter with officers in another state that would detain him until we could go to him and question him. At this point we were about 99% sure where he was and who he was with, the main point is that he was alive. After the briefing information was released to other family members by family members who had been briefed. One of those family members went out on a limb and sent Aubrey a message and Aubrey responded. That family member explained what was happening and was able to convince Aubrey to call his mother. Aubrey called his mother and told her that he was ready to come home; however there were certain conditions that he wanted in place such as who he would talk to and where he would go when he got home. Aubrey's mother reached out to me and told me that she had been contacted and that he was on the way home from out of state. Aubrey's mom relayed messages from me to him assuring him that he would not be arrested and that he could live as he wanted. These messages occurred over several days, and we allowed Aubrey to pick a location where he felt safe. Last night I received a call that Aubrey was with his mom and was safe. He agreed to meet with me and Lt. Mike Morris so we could question him about why and how he disappeared, and basic questions about his wellbeing and safety. We met with Aubrey this morning and he is happy, healthy and fine. He told us that he left on his own, and had not been abducted, hurt, abused, exploited, or harmed in any way. He did ask that information about the circumstances surrounding this case be kept private. I can add that there is no indication that he was aided or helped by anyone in this area. All indications are that he did this on his own." "We sat for quite a bit of time with him and listened to his story. His tale was absolutely amazing. He has seen and done things that make your jaw drop. These things and places line up with the information we had and things just fell in to place. How the story ended doesn't matter, who gets credit doesn't matter. Aubrey's family, supported by friends and the tenacity of the investigators working on this case saw this through to the end. What matters is that he is safe, healthy and unharmed."
"In speaking with Aubrey and his mom, they both want to send the message that if you have a missing loved one to not give up hope. Keep praying, keep looking, and keep your faith. Miracles happen."