Autistic Teen Found After Day of Looking for Mom

After spending the night in a car wash, the teen returned to the La Mesa trolley station

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    NEWSLETTERS

    nbcsandiego
    The mother of the missing teen arrived to the Trolley station to reunite with her son.

    While police were searching all over San Diego for a missing autistic teen, he was searching for his mother.

    Geoffrey William Atibagos, 14, went missing from the Amaya Trolley Station in La Mesa around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

    Geoffrey has a high-functioning form of autism, and recently started taking the trolley alone. His mother, Kelley Camacho, said it was a way to introduce him to a more independent lifestyle. However when she arrived to the trolley station Tuesday, he was nowhere to be seen.

    She notified police and MTS officials, and began an extensive search on her own for her son. Police departments from several municipalities

    "My worst fear was that he had taken the trolley to Mexico and was lost in Tijuana," Camacho said.

    At about 11 a.m. Wednesday trolley security guards located Geoffrey at the same trolley station where he went missing.

    Geoffrey said when his mother was late to pick him up from the trolley station, he got back on the trolley to look for her, taking the same route he took with his mother the day before.

    “He was trying to find me, and he rode the trolley all night looking for me,” Camacho said.

    He rode the trolley nearly down to the San Ysidro border crossing and several other trolley stops.

    At night, he found shelter under a car wash and slept there until the morning. He woke up and knew he had to go to school, so he got back on the trolley and headed to La Mesa, he said.

    "I always want to go to school, I don’t want to miss my classes – it affects my grades," Geoffrey said Wednesday morning.

    A security guard recognized him from a picture and called police. His mother arrived at the station to meet him shortly after.

    Geoffrey was unharmed through the ordeal, but his mother says the terrifying night of searching for him has changed her perspective on caring for a child with Asperger's syndrome. Instead of training him to be more independent, she said she will now be walking him to and from his classes.

    "When a child with special needs comes into play, there are just so many more dangers that go along with it," she said. "A lot of this has been basically been independent training for him, you know, typical things we do with teenagers. I think I need to revise a lot of that stuff."

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