Update: Missing teen with autism found safe

Posted at 12:56 PM, Aug 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-20 23:27:42-04

OREM, Utah – A teenage boy with autism who disappeared Tuesday night in Orem has been found safe.

Officials said 14-year-old David Vasquez had been last seen Tuesday at 8 p.m. at an LDS Church near 1100 S. and 200 E.

“I’m very grateful to God and thankful to everyone. Everyone, thank you for helping me,” David’s mother, Adrianna Segura, said in an interview Wednesday afternoon.

Segura was in the process of posting missing fliers of her son all over Orem when she received the call that her son had been found wandering around University Mall.

"This is the greatest moment of my life, getting my son back, thank you so much," Segura said.

David was at an activity at the church. He said he had called his mom to pick him up but she didn't answer, so he left on his own.

"I've been at my friend's house, we were just wandering around, we went all the way down to Provo, but we both got really lost," David said.

He was surprised how serious the situation had become, and he was glad to see his family again.

"It felt great, I actually missed them a lot, I was really scared and everything," David said. "I knew they were going to be worried."

People who didn't even know the teen scoured the neighborhoods searching for him. For one night, David was everyone's son or brother.

"I know sometimes if you don't find kids in the first 24 hours a lot of times it's not a good ending, so I didn't sleep all night," said neighbor Maggie McDowell.

David said he and his friend went to the University Mall to get something to eat. That is where a fellow church member spotted him.

"I showed him the picture, 'Hey Buddy you've been missing,' so he looked at the picture and he's like, 'I don't look that ugly,' it was just picture perfect. I was so happy," said Josue Alvarez.

For David's family, this entire experience is something they will keep in mind every day.

"I will keep a closer eye on my son 24/7 so this won't happen again," Segura said.