Missing teenager found after three years

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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 29,130
Location: Long Island, New York

17 Apr 2022, 11:41 am

California teen with autism who vanished 3 years ago is found alive in Utah

Connerjack Oswalt, who has autism, went missing in Clearlake on Sept. 28, 2019, when he was 16 years old. He was reported missing to the Clearlake Police Department the following day.

The search for him ended earlier this month after the Summit County Sheriff's Office found him outside Jeremy's Store in Summit Park.

“It boggles all of our minds,” Lt. Andrew Wright with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office said Friday. “It’s just a really miraculous discovery if you will.”

Several weeks before Oswalt's identity was confirmed, residents in the area began calling the sheriff's office to report seeing a homeless person pushing a cart. Wright said they did not have a lot of transients in the area because it gets very cold because of its high elevation.

Deputies made contact with the person several times and offered to help him find shelter, but he always refused and would not give his name, Wright said.

On April 9, a person called the sheriff's office and said a young man was sleeping outside a gas station. When deputies arrived, the person was cold so they let him warm up in a patrol vehicle. This time, deputies scanned the person's fingerprint.

Wright said they got a hit for an arrest warrant out of Nevada for assault on a police officer. The warrant was issued in February but spelled Oswalt's last name wrong, according to Wright.

Suspecting that there was more to the story, deputies did some more digging and came across a missing person poster for Oswalt in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database. When contacted, both Clearlake police and Oswalt's mother confirmed that he was still missing.

Immediately, Oswalt's family drove from Idaho Falls, Idaho, where they had relocated, to Utah to be reunited with him.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman

Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

Joined: 20 Dec 2021
Gender: Female
Posts: 144
Location: Med West

17 Apr 2022, 8:24 pm

I read this story when it came out. Some of the comments to it were dumb. It didn't occur to readers that maybe this boy ran away from home because he was being abused? He didn't run away because he's autistic. In fact, that's the last thing an autistic person, who feels safe at home, would want to do -- going out into a world of STRANGERS.

I'll bet that boy was being abused, and like MANY neurotypical teens, decided to run away.

The story was missing pertinent information. If this boy wanted to be reuinted with his mother, why hadn't he tried in three years? If he was so "low functioning" that he didn't even know how to contact his mother or ask for help getting reunited, he wouldn't have been able to survive on his own on the streets all by himself for three years.

The possibility of abuse needs to be investigated. He seems on the higher end of the spectrum and felt more safe on the streets than inside his own home. I know sometimes autistic kids go missing, but they're much younger and accidentally wander away without the intention of running away. But he was 16 and apparently made no attempt to get back home. Something's real fishy here.


Joined: 23 Feb 2020
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,031
Location: Alpena MI

18 Apr 2022, 7:17 am

the article is somewhat abbreviated from the one I read. It goes on to say that the teen is being cared for right there by social services and was not simply returned to his parents. I believe he may be saying he does not want to go back. I have great hopes he will get the assistance he needs and will find a safe way to live going forward.


"Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.” Samuel Johnson