An autistic Californian teen who went missing three years ago has been reunited with his family. The missing teen, Connerjack Oswalt, was diagnosed with autism in 2014.
The National Missing Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS) reported that he was 16 when he disappeared from his family's home in Clearlake, California.
According to SF Gate, Oswalt already had "a history of running away." In May 2019, he ran away from home with his pet cat when his mom took his phone away. He eventually returned home but ran away in September 2019.
Early in April this year, the Summit County Sheriff's office in Utah received several reports describing a teenager often found pushing a shopping cart and sleeping in front of a Jeremy Ranch convenience store alone.
That teen turned out to be Oswalt. He was found sitting in front of the store and shivering, as captured on the police bodycam footage. An officer approached him and asked him to sit in a patrol cruiser to warm up.
He agreed but refused to divulge his name when the officer asked, although he allowed the officer to scan his fingerprint to match him to a missing person's case.
The Summit Sheriff, Justin Martinez, described Oswalt as "being resistant" and "reluctant to communicate."
After they contacted Oswalt's family, his stepfather drove from Idaho to Utah to pick him up. In the two-plus years that they had been searching for him, the family had moved from California.
Gerald Flint, Oswalt's stepfather, told CBS 5: "We've had a lot of false hope over the last two and a half years."
Recalling the joyful occasion, the Sheriff said he had not seen anything as huge since the disappearance of Elizabeth Smart, where a person missing for a long time was not only found but found alive.
Elizabeth Smart was a 14-year-old girl, kidnapped in 2002 and was held captive by her abductors for nine months before being discovered and reunited with her family. After months of rigorous search, you can only imagine how ecstatic her family was.
The Sheriff said: "There wasn't a dry eye in the room. They've been reunited with this individual they haven't seen for three years when he was 16. He's now 19."
We can only imagine the relief his parents must have felt. Oswalt's profile is now off most missing persons databases and sites.