7-year-old with autism hit, killed in Franklin County

 — A 7-year-old died Monday night in a crash on Darius Pearce Road, officials said.

Ronnie Tanner Vick, of Youngsville, was walking west in the roadway just before 9 p.m., according to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Alix Feild, 29, of Youngsville, was driving a 1997 Buick in the same direction when Vick was hit.

After hitting the child, Feild continued down the road, leaving the scene before officers arrived, officials said.

Vick died at the scene.

Troopers located Feild a short time later at a “short distance” down the road.

Vick had autism and played baseball for the Miracle League of Franklin County.

A neighbor said his mother had gone to the bathroom and when she left the room she noticed the front door was open. Neighbors began to search for the child, but he made it about a mile up the road.

“It is just a horribly sad situation. It’s tragic,” said Jerry Hammack, who lives nearby. “As a parent you do everything you possibly can do to protect your children and even doing that, things can happen.”

Neighbors and friends said they are shaken to the core by the tragedy. They are now praying for the Vick family.

“It is something like that you don’t know what to say. It’s a very, very, very sad situation,” said Lee Pendleton, who lives near the Vick family.

Vick was a student at Bunn Elementary School, according to Franklin County Schools officials.

“The loss of any student – especially a young child – is unfathomably difficult,” said Patrick Glace, Director of Communications for Franklin County Schools. “As a district, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Vick family and we will continue to do everything we can to support them and our school community.”

The school has made guidance counselors available for students.

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Teen with autism struck, critically injured

A 16-year-old boy with autism suffered serious injuries in a hit-and-run crash early Thursday morning.

The collision happened around 3:45 a.m. on East 31st Street near South Mingo Road. Witnesses told police they drove up on the victim walking in the middle of the road and turned around to check on him.

While they were checking on him, witnesses said they tried to stop a white Chevy Tahoe driving toward the child. The SUV struck the boy in front of the witnesses and drove away, according to police.

Police said the boy was taken to the hospital with massive head trauma and is now in an induced coma.

The victim’s mother told police that the boy left their apartment in the area without her knowing. She said the boy has low functioning autism.

Police said the driver of the SUV will face felony hit-and-run charges when he or she is caught.

Witnesses told police the driver went west on East 31st Street and north on Memorial Drive.

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Glendale police use tracking device to find deaf man with autism reported missing

GLENDALE, CA – A 20-year-old deaf Glendale man with autism has been located in the Burbank wash after he was reported missing early Tuesday morning, authorities say.

Brandon — only his first name has been released — left his home in the 400 block of Allen Avenue without telling his family. Tahnee Lightfoot, a spokeswoman with the Glendale Police Department, said the man was wearing a tracking device that helped officers locate him in the wash near the Burbank and Glendale border.

It’s not exactly known how he was able to get down into the area but Lightfoot said there is a road near ABC Studios near the wash that Brandon could have used.

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Colonie man with autism found with aid of Project Lifesaver

Colonie, NY – A 25-year-old man with autism who had wandered away from home early Saturday morning was found safe shortly after he was reported missing due in part to a special program called Project Lifesaver, according to a news release from Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple, Sr.

Authorities received call at 2:21 a.m. from the man’s mother who said she believed her son had climbed out a window of their Broderick Street home and was missing. The man who was wearing a Project Lifesaver FM transmitter was located unharmed within 18 minutes of the initial call about a half mile from home on Locust Park wearing only pajamas, Apple said. He was found by a member of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team working with members of the Colonie Police Department. Authorities believe the man entered into a home seeking warmth, Apple said.

“The quick response by everyone involved prevented a potentially dangerous situation and demonstrated that, along with good police work, the Project Lifesaver Program works”, Apple said.


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Teen Reported Missing During Storm Found Safe In Neighbor’s Shed

FRANKLIN SQUARE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — This week’s nor’easter rattled nerves with its whipping wind and pounding rains, and in the middle of it an autistic teen wandered outside and got lost.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, it took 12 hours and a stranger with a big heart to get Joseph Barbella back after he walked out the front door of his Franklin Square home.

His parents’ backs were turned for a second, and the 16-year-old autistic youth became lost during the height of the nor’easter.

As wind blew and rain pounded the frightened teen found refuge in the backyard she of a stranger five blocks away.

“I acted on a whim. It was a hunch,” Michael Caputo said.

Caputo, a Hempstead town employee awoke to discover a frantic search had been launched 12 hours earlier for a missing autistic child. Caputo had recently screened a documentary about autism.

“Sometimes children with autism tend to find hiding places, and my shed looks like a clubhouse,” he said. “Just opened this up and this young man was lying here, and I didn’t want to startle him, didn’t want him to run away.”

Joseph was asleep — a golf bag and toys as a pillow.

Police arrived within minutes and alerted Joseph’s frantic parents.

“So filled with joy. Just wanting to run to the location. My son is with me all the time. We do everything together — a minute apart is tough,” John Barbella said.

Finding Joseph safe couldn’t have been better news for the Barbellas who have endured some hardships. Joseph’s mother is battling cancer, and undergoing chemotherapy.

“Very intense for us, my wife especially,” John said.

They were grateful moments for a hometown hero.

“His instincts were keen, his nature caring, and conscientious,” Hempstead Town Supervisor, Anthony Santino said, as he gave Caputo a key to the town.

“I am very flattered to be called a hero,” Caputo said. “I am just blessed. I was the final piece of the puzzle to get this boy home and safe.”

The true heroes he said were the volunteers, police, and other first responders who searched all night long.

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Franklin Square Teen Reported Missing During Storm Is Found Safe In Neighbor’s Shed


Missing Autistic Teenager Located in Reservoir

SANTA MARIA – A 19-year-old Santa Maria resident with Autism is back home safely after what could have been a life-threatening experience. At approximately 2:10 p.m. on January 28, 2017, the caretakers at his residential home discovered he was missing. They contacted the Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch center to report the emergency. Thanks to the fact that the missing at-risk teenager’s family had signed him up with Project Lifesaver, he was wearing a transmitter that was able to pinpoint his location.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SBCSAR) team and a Santa Barbara County Sheriff/Fire Air Support Unit helicopter were deployed. SBCSAR team members used the electronic monitoring system to direct Air Support to the area where the signal was coming from. At approximately 5:15 p.m., Air Support spotted the missing teenager swimming in a reservoir located approximately five miles from the residential home. The unseasonably cold water was up to his neck and indications were that he had been there for some time and could have easily drowned. Fortunately, Air Support was able to lead a Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team member and a Sheriff’s Volunteer to his location.

The Sheriff’s Volunteer knew the missing teenager from periodically changing the batteries on his Project Lifesaver bracelet. When the teenager heard his familiar voice, he agreed to reach his hands out and was pulled over the slippery water basin to safety.

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Boy with autism dies 6 days after falling into west Boca water

Six days after he was found face down in a body of water outside his west Boca Raton home, a 3-year-old boy with autism has died, the Florida Department of Children and Families confirmed.

The boy died Feb. 8, DCF records show, after multiple days in the intensive care unit.

The boy was playing at about noon Feb. 2 on his family’s back screened-in patio at a home in the Palmetto Pinesdevelopment, on West Palmetto Park Road west of State Road 7, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said. His mother was watching him from inside the house.

She went outside to check on the boy and learned he had gotten out of the patio through a broken screen, the sheriff’s office said.

The mother found the toddler face-down in the water. Relatives performed CPR on the boy until rescue crews arrived.

It is unclear whether the boy was in a pool or a canal. DCF records indicate the toddler “ripped” through a screen door and gained access to the family’s swimming pool. The sheriff’s office said the boy was found in a canal.

The Department of Children and Families had investigated the boy’s family within the last year, records show.

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La. K-9 finds missing autistic teen

ST. TAMMANY, La. — A K-9 unit was credited with finding an autistic teenager who went missing in the woods near Lacombe on Tuesday night, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

St. Tammany deputies were called to a residence in Lacombe after the 14-year-old went missing on Tuesday. Deputies “canvassed the area for hours” but could not locate the teen, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Deputy Ron Olivier and his K-9, Freya, a Bavarian mountain hound, were called to assist in the search. Freya specializes in finding lost children and “took the scent” from the teenager’s clothes, the Sheriff’s Office said. Freya found the teenager, curled up and hiding in the woods, after a 20-minute search.

The 14-year-old was scared but in good health, the Sheriff’s Office said. The entire search lasted about three hours.

“This potential tragic story finished with a happy ending,” Sheriff Randy Smith said in the news release. “Our canines are amazing animals who are invaluable to our deputies and citizens.”

South Bay school doesn’t notice when boy with autism wanders off campus

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — A boy diagnosed with autism wandered away from his South Bay elementary school and is picked up by a stranger.

Richard Scherman dropped off his 11-year-old son at Central Elementary in Imperial Beach Monday morning.

“He went in line and then decided he wanted to leave,” Scherman said. “He walked out (the) door while other kids were entering.”

Scherman claimed no one noticed his young son had wandered away from school.

The child, also named Richard, said he just wanted to go home, “to give my mom hugs and kisses.”

“Most kids they know better, but an autistic kid doesn’t know better,” Scherman said.

Scherman said the sixth grader walked down the block to a busy street where he crossed the road alone and then walked about a half mile.

“I got into the yellow truck and asked her for a ride,” the little boy said. “I thought it was a taxi though.”

Thankfully, it was an elderly woman who realized something was terribly wrong. She called a relative who works for Chula Vista Police Department and he took the boy home.

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Boys rescue 4-year-old girl with autism from drowning in creek

They ran for help and found Ricky Duke.

“I just pulled over here to text my wife and check in on her,” Duke said. “I left some friends’ house that live out here. A young man on a bicycle pulled up and asked me to call 911 and said they’d just pulled a little girl out of the creek.”

Duke said he called those friends, who called the police and then rushed to the scene.

“We wrapped her up in some jackets that we had, and I just kind of held on to her and hugged her and told her everything’s going to be fine,” Lucia McCreight said. “That we were going to take care of her until we could find her parents.”

Her parents were grateful.

“She’s got autism, and we just found out about it,” mom Melissa Maddox said. “She just likes to wander off and do her own thing sometimes.”

Soon after Roman Forest police blasted her picture on social media, word got back to her parents. Maddox said the girl’s name is Melodie and that she recently celebrated a birthday, and that she loves going into the backyard to play with her pet pig. But she’s kept her in lately because of the cool temperatures.

“She’s just been asking for days to go outside, and I guess she just slipped outside without saying anything after I left for work,” she said.
Maddox said her husband was watching Melodie when she slipped out.

“We’re always trying to stay on top of her,” she said. “He’s a really good dad. He’s always making sure she’s OK.”

Melodie was taken to the Pediatric Emergency Center at Kingwood Medical Center and reunited with her mom and stepfather there.

Roman Forest police say they’re not filing charges at this point, but that could change depending on Melodie’s injuries.

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