On OALD, it's mentioned:
whereabouts (n) - the place where somebody/something is
The example below is quite clear -
Hs whereabouts are/is still unknown. This means, where is he, is still unknown.
Now the adverb whereabouts
whereabouts (adv) - used to ask the general area where somebody/something is
The example is
Whereabouts did you find it?
The general area?
What could be the answer to this? If I found it in my drawer, it's not a general area but the area, the exact area where I found it.
If you find something, you find it at the exact place. As it's described in OALD, this must be a valid question but then what could be your answer? You answer anything and it will be opposite to the meaning of adverb whereabouts. The meaning says approximate/general place but if you find something, you find it at the exact place and not general!
Does it mean that I lost a key and this conversation takes place...
Whereabouts did you find a key? ~ I found it in a room (because the asker used 'whereabouts' so it should be general place.
And the same key, the same incidence but if someone asks...
Where did you find a key? ~ I found it in a drawer (because the asker used 'where' so it should be the 'exact' place.
Does it mean, again, that if you want to ask general, you use whereabouts but if you want to know the exact place, whereabouts won't work? Instead, we use where?