November 25, 2009
Posted: 02:14 PM ET
New York (CNN) - A 13-year-old teenager with Asperger's syndrome spent 11 days in October wandering New York's vast subway system until a police officer recognized him from a missing persons' poster, according to police and the youth's mother.
Francisco Hernandez Jr., who has Asperger's, a developmental disorder that affects the ability to socialize and communicate, disappeared on October 15, after he thought he was in trouble at school, according to his mother, Marsiela Garcia of Brooklyn.
Garcia told CNN that she contacted police when her son went missing, but received little help.
Garcia said she and her husband took matters into their own hands and posted signs and fliers around the neighborhood, in public areas, even in the subway. "Nobody told me nothing," she said.
The teen was eventually identified by a transit police officer in the Coney Island section of New York, after the officer recognized him from the fliers that had been posted throughout the subway system. He was returned home unharmed.
Garcia said her son wore the same clothes for 11 days, slept in subway cars, used bathrooms in stations and spent most of his time over those days underground. He had $11 when he disappeared, she said, and he ate lollipops, potato chips and other food he bought in subway stations.
"He's never explained (to) me what happened in these days," Garcia said.
Francisco told his mother he didn't ask for help or communicate with anyone, which experts say is not uncommon for people with Asperger's syndrome.
Filed under: Crime
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