Missing autistic teen found safe; family glad he is home

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 8:55 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 26, 2022 at 1:31 PM EDT
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UPDATE: Bobby Curry has been found safe, according to Roanoke Police.

Police say a “well-intentioned” woman saw the boy walking and, concerned, picked him up and took him to her home, and called police after seeing the alert about a missing boy.

The woman told police Bobby told her he didn’t want to go home because he thought he was in trouble.

Curry’s legal guardian told WDBJ7 she was relieved and grateful when he walked through the door.

”We started looking for him; he wasn’t in the house,” Phyllis Reyes said.

Reyes first noticed Curry was gone around 7 a.m. Tuesday. Roanoke City Police Department got a call at 1 p.m. Tuesday from a woman saying she found Curry. Police say Curry was nine miles from his home on Frances Drive.

“We understand she was attempting to try and get him home,” Captain Andy Pulley said. “Once it was realized that he couldn’t or didn’t tell him where she lived exactly, she took him back to her residence where eventually she called us.”

Once the media alert went out, community members helped with the search effort.

“My mentality is think like my kids. Where would my kids go?” Stephanie Manus said. “I have two high-functioning, autistic boys and I think, where would they go?”

Curry has a tracking bracelet, but police say he cut it off before he left his home. Reyes explained there were a lot of emotions at home when Curry walked in the door.

“It’s that double emotion there, that you have as a parent either way,” Reyes said. “I mean, of course we’re overjoyed that he’s here. But you have to ask yourself, what could you have done to prevent the situation.”

Curry’s family explained the entire community helped bring him home.

“I can say, especially from todays’ coming together, that I’d rather be here than anywhere,” Reyes said. “Just because of the help that everyone’s put into it.”

Reyes also said this isn’t the first time Curry has left the home but it has been the longest he’s been missing. Police are still investigating why Curry left his home and for exactly how long he was missing.

EARLIER STORY: ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - An autistic teen has been reported missing, according to the Roanoke Police Department.

Police say 13-year-old Bobby Curry was last reported seen around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday at his home in the 100 block of Frances Drive NW in Roanoke.

Curry was discovered missing when his guardians went to check on him around 7 a.m. Tuesday and he was gone. Police say he does not live with his parents.

Police say Curry is 4′6″ feet tall and 70 pounds and may be wearing multi-covered Croc-style shoes. It’s unclear what clothes he is wearing.

Several police agencies are in on the search, including police from Roanoke city and county, plus the FBI and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, which has supplied a bloodhound as part of the search. Police say about 60 members of emergency services are looking for him, and drones are being used.

Bobby is enrolled in the Project Lifesaver program, which supplied a band to be worn around his wrist to aid in a search for him in case he disappears, but police say he cut that off and they found it at his home. He is considered endangered, according to police, who say while he is on the autism spectrum, they classify him as high-functioning and verbal.

Anyone in the area with surveillance cameras or doorbell video is asked to check it for any sign of the missing boy.

Anyone who sees or has seen Bobby or has information about his location is asked to call 9-1-1.

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