MASON, Ohio -- First responders deployed helicopters, K-9 units and dive teams overnight to find a teenage boy with autism.
Police found the 16-year-old at about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday after he had been missing for nearly seven hours.
Police found the boy at the Skyline Chili off Western Row Road about 3.5 miles from his family's home on Water's Edge Drive. His mother told police the boy, who is nonverbal, left their home at about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday.
Warren County Chief Deputy Barry Riley said first responders searched in a pond near Waterford Drive at about 4 a.m. The search was “immediate and overwhelming,” he said.
“We’ve always been taught and learned that autistic people are drawn to water, so we’re fearful of that for sure, especially with it being this close to his residence,” Riley said. “But, we got him safe and sound.”
Deputies say they are trained that individuals with autism are drawn to water.
According to @autismspeaks, the leading cause of death among individuals with autism after wandering is drowning. @WCPO pic.twitter.com/hMugbsoy5P
— Ally Kraemer (@AllyKraemer) May 9, 2018
Multiple agencies began searching for the teen at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. Mason police officers, Deerfield Township first responders and Warren County Sheriff's Office deputies searched for the boy.