CLEVELAND (CBSNewYork) – Officials said a missing autistic teenager has been found safe in Cleveland, Ohio, a week after he was last seen at leaving his Marlboro, N.J. home.
Michael Karwan, 19, was safe when he was located, the Citywide Disaster Services emergency communications agency told CBS 2.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office confirmed that Karwan had been found, but said the investigation was active and ongoing and declined to release further information.
Karwan was spotted trying to check into a hotel using his ID card, according to the office of U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) who had been assisting in the search for the boy.
The hotel was reportedly run by a religious institution that found out Karwan was missing, Grimm’s office said. On Tuesday night, Karwan was at a Cleveland police station.
Grimm said in a statement that he spoke with Karwan’s father, Walter Karwan, who confirmed that the young man found was indeed his son.
“This is truly a Thanksgiving blessing,” Grimm said in a statement. “Thanks to the efforts of concerned citizens, countless volunteers, media coverage and prayers from the community, Michael Karwan has been located and will be reunited with his family just in time for the holidays. I am very proud of Michael’s father, Walter Karwan, for his strength, faith, and perseverance throughout this trying time.”
It was not immediately learned how Karwan got to Cleveland.
Karwan had vanished from his home on Tuesday, Nov. 19, police said. Karwan left his home without a coat, gloves or hat.
He left his family’s home after reportedly getting into an argument with his parents because he did not want to do his homework, Grimm’s office said.
Authorities on Monday said Karwan had been seen getting on a bus in Monmouth County and later by a bus driver at the Port Authority Bus Terminal a day after his disappearance.
There were also reports someone resembling Michael Karwan was seen on Eighth Avenue and West 35th Street on Monday night. A Penn Station clerk also may have spotted him Monday morning, according to U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island).
Karwan’s family had offered a $25,000 reward for the missing teen.
Another autistic teen, Avonte Oquendo, 14, has been making headlines ever since he vanished from the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City, Queens, on Oct. 4. Oquendo, who is not able to communicate verbally, has not been spotted in the nearly two months since.
Avonte was last seen wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black shoes. He is 5-foot-3 and weighs 125 pounds. Flyers have been posted all over the city and hundreds of volunteers and police have been scouring neighborhoods looking for the teen.
Subway operators have continued to make announcements over train public address systems, asking riders to keep an eye out for Avonte. He reportedly had a strong interest in trains and railway systems.
Anyone with information about Avonte was asked to contact NYPD Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit the Crime Stoppers website or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.
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