KIRYAS JOEL, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A 10-year-old autistic boy from Brooklyn who went missing Sunday in Orange County has been found.
A New York State trooper spotted Shimon Zorger on the property of a local girls’ school in the mostly Hasidic village of Kiryas Joel around 9 a.m. Monday, police said.
“He was a little reluctant, but we called for some citizens to come alleviate the child’s fears and he came with the trooper and he’s being reunited with his parents,” Capt. Brendan Casey said.
“We are grateful for the overwhelming outpouring of concern and support from our loved ones and all of our friends and neighbors as well as the rescue personnel involved in the search,” Zorger’s family said in a statement. “Our son is in good condition at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center. As we move forward we ask that you honor our family’s request for privacy so we can focus on his care. Thank you.”
The little boy was visiting his grandparents when he wandered away from their yard around 6 p.m. Sunday.
A massive flood of community volunteers from as far away as Brooklyn worked alongside state police and other agencies through the night looking for Shimon.
“They brought bloodhounds, helicopters, BCI units, troopers from all over,” said Kiryas Joel Public Safety Director Moses Witriol. “We worked hand-in-hand together.”
Authorities said the boy has wandered off before, sometimes dozens of blocks away from his Williamsburg home. There was concern that overnight he would have become disoriented and lost in the rain and unfamiliar surroundings.
“Every minute that goes by without a result, you become anxious, so to see this ending, it’s a very good feeling,” said Witriol. “The community is happy that there’s a happy ending to it.”
Officials said Shimon’s parents had just ordered a GPS device for him to wear around his neck that would allow them to communicate with him if he did wander off. The device had not yet arrived by the time they left to visit his grandparents.
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