Missing Autistic Teen Found 200 Miles Away From Home

13-year-old boy went missing from home in Tucson, turns up in New Mexico
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 29, 2024 10:40 AM CST
Missing Autistic Teen Found 200 Miles Away From Home
This undated image shows Mikel Desmond with his younger brother Marcus, who turned up in Deming, New Mexico, on Tuesday after going missing from his family's home in Tucson, Arizona.   (Mikel Desmond via AP)

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico—about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona, according to New Mexico State Police. The 13-year-old, Marcus Tessier, turned up at a Walmart in Deming on Tuesday after going missing the night before from his family's home in Tucson, reports the AP. In hopes of finding Marcus, New Mexico authorities posted a picture on social media seeking the public's help. New Mexico State Police said that within minutes, someone recognized the teen from an earlier post by the Tucson Police Department. They confirmed Wednesday that the teen was safely back at home. "Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible by sharing, commenting, and spreading the word," New Mexico State Police said on Facebook.

The family has no idea how the teen was able to get to Deming. "My mom woke up, and he was no longer in the house. The front door was unlocked, and he was just gone," the boy's brother, Mikel Desmond, told Albuquerque television station KRQE. The family contacted police, searched nearby areas, and created a missing-person flyer that they shared online. As hours passed, Desmond said he started to lose hope of finding his brother. He said even if someone had given the teen a phone and told him to call home, he wouldn't be able to because he can't communicate verbally.

On Tuesday evening, the family got a call from authorities in New Mexico. Desmond said his brother had turned up at the Walmart, where he tried to buy food and drinks but didn't have any money. The teen then reportedly went to hide in the bathroom and was found by law enforcement. "It's amazing how fast news can spread through social media," Desmond said. "And we never would have thought that we would have had so many people reach out and ask [for] ways they can help."

(More missing teen stories.)

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