Search and Rescue Crews Find Missing Boy

posted Feb 22, 2012, 11:21 PM by Santa Cruz County Sheriff Search and Rescue Team

The Watsonville teenager hadn't been seen since Thursday.

Sheriff's deputies and volunteers searching for a 15-year-old Watsonville boy who failed to get on his bus at Aptos High two days prior found him Saturday night, the Sheriff's Office confirmed.

Literally minutes after Sgt. Steve Carney made a public call-out for help finding the autistic teenager, he was located.

The boy was unharmed and not traumatized, as he had been staying with friends in Watsonville during the two days he was missing.

"He actually called [home] and said 'Why are you guys looking for me, I'm with friends,'" said Sgt. Peter Hansen of the Sheriff's Office.

Although the Sheriff's Office released the boy's name and his photo, Patch is not identifying the boy to protect his privacy.

The teen has Aspergers Syndrome, for which he takes medication, and lives in a Watsonville group home. His caregivers grew concerned when he didn't make it back to Whiskey Hill Group Home, according to Carney. He was reported missing around 6:11 p.m. Thursday.

The teen was last seen at Aptos High School, 100 Mariner Way, around 1:40 p.m. that day.

Sheriff’s Office personnel searched the campus and surrounding areas after receiving the initial report, then the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team began conducting a systematic search of the area.

He was found just after 8 p.m. Saturday, according to Carney.