HAVERHILL — A 10-year-old autistic boy missing from his Haverhill home was found wandering in a rural area just over New Hampshire the line in Atkinson Sunday night.
The boy, who is autistic, went missing from his home on Sunday and was found several hours later in the darkness at a pond near the Atkinson Community Center.
Police said they began searching when the boy was reported missing. A woman who lives in Atkinson told police she was driving past the Community Center when she noticed a helicopter flying overhead.
The woman said she was driving home with her son after shopping in Plaistow when she noticed the low-flying search helicopter. She said that later she looked around the area and noticed the boy in the shallow water of a pond.
The woman said she and her son wrapped the soaked, but uninjured boy in a blanket and then notified police.
Atkinson Police Chief Albert Brackett said his department was notified about 7:30 p.m. by Haverhill police, who asked for help finding the boy. At that point, he had been missing for several hours.
Bracket said the search, which involved a State Police helicopter, was centered in the North Broadway area near the Atkinson line, and that it was reported the boy may have gone into Atkinson.
“We searched the area over the Massachusetts line in Atkinson as well, including the North Broadway, Juniper Lane and Forest Street area,” Brackett said. “At about 9 p.m., we were notified that an Atkinson woman had found the boy in the area of a small pond next to the Community Center and that he was wet and that she had wrapped the boy in a blanket.
“The information I received was that he’d been wading in the water and that the woman saw him at the edge of the water,” the chief said.
Brackett said the Community Center, on Route 121 just up from Leavitt’s Ice Cream stand, is about three miles from where the boy was reported missing. The Community Center is a short distance from where Hilldale Avenue in Haverhill meets Route 121 in Atkinson.
Brackett said the boy was autistic, and that when officers arrived, the boy did not speak.
He said a Haverhill police officer arrived on scene as well, along with a Trinity EMS ambulance, which took the boy to Lawrence General Hospital to be checked out.
Brackett said the boy appeared to be uninjured.
“It must have been scary for the parents,” Brackett said. “It was a good outcome and it was good to have the assistance of a citizen. We’re happy that the boy is safe.”