The subject of a nationwide search, 14-year-old Storm Sorrentino turned up last Friday afternoon -- sitting on a stone wall in Fairfield.

For three days before the teen was found, his mother, Fairfield resident Kathyrn Sorrentino, was held in prison because a Superior Court judge believed she knew where the boy was but refused to disclose his whereabouts.

On Friday, the mother was set free.

"I don't know how to explain it," said police Lt. James Perez. "He was just sitting on a stone wall, no explanation where he has been for the last month."

Storm Sorrentino was turned over to Norwalk police, who had initiated the search for him after his father, Saverio Sorrentino of Newtown, reported him missing there in mid-December.

Looking relieved, the father left state Superior Court in Bridgeport to be re-united with his son. He declined comment.

Perez said about 1 p.m. Friday, police received a call from a Burr Street resident reporting that a suspicious person was sitting on a stone wall.

"Our officers responded and found a young male sitting on the stone wall. He identified himself as Storm Sorrentino," Perez said.

The location is about 3 miles from the mother's Fairfield home on Curtis Terrace, Perez said. The teen appeared to be in good health, he added.

News that the Storm Sorrentino had been found came at an opportune moment.

Superior Court Judge Gerard Adelman was about to ask a handcuffed Kathyrn Sorrentino the same question he had asked her the last three days: "Do you know where your son is." When Sorrentino responded in the past that she didn't know, she was sent back to prison in Niantic.

But this time as the hearing began Saverio Sorrentino, who earlier had been pacing back and forth while talking on his cellphone in the hallway outside the courtroom, announced to the judge that his son had been located.

"That being the case Miss Sorrentino, you are released," the judge ordered.

She was released still wearing the outfit she had worn every day: a gray sweatshirt and checkered flannel pants She immediately hugged her adult daughter, Samantha.

"I am so glad my son was found," she said, smiling. "He probably learned I was in jail. He habitually runs away."

Asked about her three days in prison, she responded the experience wasn't too bad.

"I never felt unsafe. The other inmates were nice to me," she said. She then left the Bridgeport courthouse with her daughter.

In 2007, Sorrentino was divorced from her husband. A judge later granted Saverio Sorrentino custody of the boy.

Despite an intensive search by several area police departments, including searches of the mother's home, the whereabouts of Storm Sorrentino remained a mystery until Friday. The teen also was listed on the website for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. A poster with his photo was issued to police departments across the nation.

At each hearing during the past three days Saverio Sorrentino told the judge he had information that his ex-wife knew where their son was.

But each time the judge asked Kathyrn Sorrentino if she knew where her son was, she denied any knowledge. Information about what the father knew was not on record, and he would not elaborate.

At a court session two days earlier, Kathyrn Sorrentino had burst into tears as she responded to the judge.

But Adelman later characterized her behavior as "crocodile tears," and said he would have expected the mother to show signs of being distraught if she really didn't know where her son was.