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Missing Autistic Girl - CA *UPDATE*:Missing girl found dead (update in first comment)

Posted by on May. 15, 2013 at 1:36 AM
  • 28 Replies


**See the first comment for the update information:



http://abcnews.go.com/US/missing-autistic-girl-speak-considered-risk/story?id=19177950



Authorities continue to search for a 9-year-old autistic girl who disappeared from her family's Clearlake, Calif., vacation home on Mother's Day.

Mikaela Lynch, of San Francisco, was reported missing from her fenced-in backyard where she had been playing with her younger brother, ABC's San Francisco affiliate KGO-TV reported. Lynch's brother reportedly ran inside to avoid a bee, and left the gate open and his sister unattended.

Bari Lynch, Mikaela's mother, contacted police to report her daughter missing just before 1:30 p.m. Sunday, according to the Clearlake Police Department.

Police said in a statement that the missing girl cannot speak, and given her "mental state, age and circumstances, ... is believed to be an at risk missing juvenile."

A woman who answered the phone at the Clearlake Police Department told ABC News that authorities did not believe Mikaela had been abducted, and that rescue workers were concentrating their search efforts on land and in the water around Lake County.

PHOTO: Mikaela Lynch, a 9-year-old autistic girl who is missing, is seen in this handout photo provided by police.
Clearlake Police Department/AP Photo
Mikaela Lynch, a 9-year-old autistic girl who... View Full Size
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"She does like water. The residence does back up to waterways," Clearlake Police Lt. Tim Celli told the Santa Rosa Democrat. "As far as we know, she does not swim."

It is believed that Mikaela is naked and shoeless, as police found her clothing in the family's yard.

KGO-TV reported that some of the teachers at Sunset Elementary School in San Francisco, where Mikaela is enrolled, took Monday off to help search for the missing girl.

Haben Porter, a teacher at the school, described Mikaela as "very inquisitive."

"She likes to explore and climb," Porter told KGO-TV. "It's just kind of part of who she is."

Nearly half of all children with autism will run away and potentially go missing at least once before their 17th birthdays, according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Of those who run away, what clinicians call "eloping," many will be found dead.

In 2012, 195 autistic children went missing, according to the National Autism Association, which only tracks the disappearances reported by the media.

Between 2009 and 2011, 91 percent of autistic children younger than 14 died in drowning incidents after "elopements." More than two-thirds of those deaths occurred in small natural bodies of water, such as creeks, lakes, rivers and ponds, acccording to the National Autism Association.

Still, Clearlake Police Chief Craig Claussen told KGO-TV he was "hopeful about the search."

ABC News' Russell Goldman contributed to this report.

by on May. 15, 2013 at 1:36 AM
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Replies (1-10):
texassahm
by Gold Member on May. 15, 2013 at 8:18 PM

UPDATE:

Missing S.F. autistic girl found dead

Updated 5:09 pm, Wednesday, May 15, 2013

1 of 6

  • Mikaela Lynch, 9, of San Francisco disappeared on Sunday. Photo: -, Clearlake Police Dept.
    Mikaela Lynch, 9, of San Francisco disappeared on Sunday. Photo: -, Clearlake Police Dept.

 

Searchers found the body of a missing 9-year-old San Francisco girl in a creek near her family's Lake County vacation home Wednesday, authorities said.

Mikaela Lynch, who had autism and the mental capacity of a 1-year-old, was last seen in the backyard of the home on Harbor Drive in Clearlake on Sunday around 1:30 p.m. She had been playing on a trampoline with her younger brother but was left alone briefly when he ran inside to avoid a bee, police said.

Her body was found in nearby Cache Creek by dive team members just before noon, said Clearlake Police Chief Craig Clausen. Foul play is not suspected. Clausen said it appears she wandered into the creek.

"It's really tragic," said police Sgt. Nick Bennett, adding that Mikaela was "a sweet little girl. We had hopes it might turn out differently."

Searchers had looked in the marshes near the home because Mikaela, who did not speak but could communicate through basic hand signals, was "attracted to water," police said.

Mike Dowling, Mikaela's godfather, described her as a "sweetheart" with an "ever-present smile."

"She loves running, playing," Dowling said. "Extremely gregarious. Just a great laugh, a fantastic laugh."

According to the National Autism Association, about half of children with autism are prone to wandering away from their homes, and a third cannot communicate their name, address or other helpful information.

Autistic children are also commonly drawn to water. Of those found dead after wandering in recent years, 91 percent had drowned, according to the association.

Mikaela was a student at Sunset Elementary School in San Francisco, district officials said.

Her teacher and six current and former teachers' aides drove up to Clearlake earlier this week to help in the search, said district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe.

Counselors were at the school Wednesday to help students needing assistance, and the school is expected to honor Mikaela in the coming days, Blythe said.

"Our heart goes out to the family of Mikaela Lynch," Blythe said in a statement. "The Sunset Elementary community has been eagerly awaiting her safe return and is shocked and saddened by today's news. The principal will be sharing the news with the school community and has assembled a crisis response team that is prepared to respond to the emotional needs of students."

San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Jill Tucker contributed to this story.

Ellen Huet is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: ehuet@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ellenhuet



Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Missing-S-F-autistic-girl-found-dead-4519317.php#ixzz2TPV0Xton
Mrs.Godfrey
by on May. 15, 2013 at 8:28 PM
2 moms liked this

my heart breaks for this family.... may they find peace within their hearts...such a tragic outcome...


BoxxyBabee
by on May. 15, 2013 at 8:32 PM
:(
Jessy613
by on May. 15, 2013 at 8:34 PM

Thats so sad

texassahm
by Gold Member on May. 15, 2013 at 9:09 PM

I am a special education teacher who works with autistic children.  When I read in the first report that there was a body of water nearby, I immediately knew she had drowned.  It's very common for children with autism to be attracted to water and not know how to swim.  I can't even imagine how devastating this must be for her family and for her special education family.  Her teachers took off work to join in the search.  I would be crushed if it were one of my students.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all her loved ones.

Momof2Stepof3
by Platinum Member on May. 15, 2013 at 9:12 PM

My heart breaks for the family but my husband and I felt this was going to be the outcome. This didn't happen all to far from our own home. If they hadn't found her by this weekend we were driving up to help in the search. 

Quoting texassahm:


**See the first comment for the update information:



http://abcnews.go.com/US/missing-autistic-girl-speak-considered-risk/story?id=19177950



Authorities continue to search for a 9-year-old autistic girl who disappeared from her family's Clearlake, Calif., vacation home on Mother's Day.

Mikaela Lynch, of San Francisco, was reported missing from her fenced-in backyard where she had been playing with her younger brother, ABC's San Francisco affiliate KGO-TV reported. Lynch's brother reportedly ran inside to avoid a bee, and left the gate open and his sister unattended.

Bari Lynch, Mikaela's mother, contacted police to report her daughter missing just before 1:30 p.m. Sunday, according to the Clearlake Police Department.

Police said in a statement that the missing girl cannot speak, and given her "mental state, age and circumstances, ... is believed to be an at risk missing juvenile."

A woman who answered the phone at the Clearlake Police Department told ABC News that authorities did not believe Mikaela had been abducted, and that rescue workers were concentrating their search efforts on land and in the water around Lake County.

PHOTO: Mikaela Lynch, a 9-year-old autistic girl who is missing, is seen in this handout photo provided by police.
Clearlake Police Department/AP Photo
Mikaela Lynch, a 9-year-old autistic girl who... View Full Size
Special-Needs Teenager Arrested in High School Drug Bust Watch Video
Autism Awareness Has NYC Turning Blue Watch Video
Test Shows Promise in Autism Diagnosis Watch Video

"She does like water. The residence does back up to waterways," Clearlake Police Lt. Tim Celli told the Santa Rosa Democrat. "As far as we know, she does not swim."

It is believed that Mikaela is naked and shoeless, as police found her clothing in the family's yard.

KGO-TV reported that some of the teachers at Sunset Elementary School in San Francisco, where Mikaela is enrolled, took Monday off to help search for the missing girl.

Haben Porter, a teacher at the school, described Mikaela as "very inquisitive."

"She likes to explore and climb," Porter told KGO-TV. "It's just kind of part of who she is."

Nearly half of all children with autism will run away and potentially go missing at least once before their 17th birthdays, according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Of those who run away, what clinicians call "eloping," many will be found dead.

In 2012, 195 autistic children went missing, according to the National Autism Association, which only tracks the disappearances reported by the media.

Between 2009 and 2011, 91 percent of autistic children younger than 14 died in drowning incidents after "elopements." More than two-thirds of those deaths occurred in small natural bodies of water, such as creeks, lakes, rivers and ponds, acccording to the National Autism Association.

Still, Clearlake Police Chief Craig Claussen told KGO-TV he was "hopeful about the search."

ABC News' Russell Goldman contributed to this report.


gwebkeijmmm
by Platinum Member on May. 15, 2013 at 9:17 PM
So sad. If only she wasn't left in the care of her YOUNGER brother.
Sunshine2plus2
by Sunshine on May. 15, 2013 at 9:20 PM

:(

Kmary
by Silver Member on May. 15, 2013 at 9:23 PM
1 mom liked this

I knew someone would bring this up and I think it's totally unfair and disgusting.  She was in a fenced backyard.  A boy running out of the yard and mistakenly leaving the fence open due to a bee, of all things, was a fluke.  I just HATE how quickly we are to blame grieving parents.  They are human, and as such, are entitled to an occasional error in judgment.  Every parent on this Earth, including you and I, have done something at some point for one minute in regards to our kids that wasn't the smartest thing to do.  The only difference between us and these parents is we have been lucky and they were not. 


Quoting gwebkeijmmm:

So sad. If only she wasn't left in the care of her YOUNGER brother.



LoveMyKBabies
by on May. 15, 2013 at 9:26 PM
So sad. Why was her LITTLE brother left in charge? She may have had the mentality of a 1 year old...but that doesn't make her 1...& who leaves their 1 year old unattended with another child?! All kinds of sad. I truly hope the parents don't blame the little boy :(

This also scares the hell out of me. Half of all Autistic kids? My two boys were diagnosed yesterday, the younger is non-verbal. I want to put him in a bubble now.
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