16-year-old boy with autism who went missing from Holladay found safe, police say

A 16-year-old boy with autism who went missing Tuesday afternoon has been found, police said. (Spencer Heaps, Deseret News)

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HOLLADAY — A 16-year-old boy with autism who went missing Tuesday afternoon has been found, police said.

The boy was found about 7:30 am Wednesday walking near Skyline High School, according to Unified police. He was “cold, but otherwise fine,” police said. Investigators believe the boy had been walking around all night.

Police said Tuesday the boy was in urgent need of medication and asked anyone with information about his whereabouts to call police. The teenager had been in trouble at school, and he ran off around 3 pm when his parents were talking to him about discipline.

“He’s taken off before when he’s gotten in trouble but never this long and he’s always come back,” said Unified Police Lt. Paul Barker.

“The longer we go … it just keeps getting scarier and scarier … so we’re hoping for a happy outcome,” he said Tuesday.

Officers went door-to-door to look for the boy, and employed the use of a drone that’s equipped with cameras to see at night. The drone also broadcast messages to the boy, saying he was not in trouble and asking him to please come home.

“It’s a new program for the Unified Police Department,” Barker said. “We’ve had success catching bad guys and we’ve sent it out on some missing people and runaways and stuff like that. We’re starting to utilize technology wherever we can.”

Ultimately, police said Wednesday the drone did not play a role in finding the boy. It came down to members of the public who called the police after spotting the boy. Unified police say they received several calls Wednesday from good Samaritans.

Police are asking for assistance to locate a 16-year-old boy with autism.  Devin "DJ" Meadows went missing Tuesday afternoon and is considered at risk.
Police are asking for assistance to locate a 16-year-old boy with autism. Devin “DJ” Meadows went missing Tuesday afternoon and is considered at risk. (Photo: Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake)

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