Woman sees boy alone on roadside after midnight and calls police

Posted On Friday August 13, 2021

An alert Ottawa resident who called police when she saw something out of place ensured a wandering boy was found safe.

Chris was driving in the area of Bayshore Drive and Richmond Road on August 2 at about 3:05 am when she saw a boy walking aimlessly on the sidewalk. Looking around, she saw no adult with him.

She stopped, rolled down the window and called to him. The boy climbed over the metal rail and walked towards the mall. Chris works with children and she had a gut feeling he would run if she followed him, so she called 911.

The boy, who is on the autism spectrum and is closely supervised by his parents, often tries to get out of the house at night. They have a series of locks on the doors and windows and this was the first time he got out.

While police were searching, another resident in the area saw the boy and alerted them. The boy wasn’t in distress but was unable to give his full name and address. It was about this time his parents discovered him missing and called police.

The boy was returned home at about 3:30 am and by that time, had become attached to the officer, even holding his hand.

Chris said she doesn’t normally drive down this road but was there because of a detour.

“Her phone call to police rather than simply driving by ensured this boy was located quickly,” said Sgt.  Ken Haddow, one of the officers involved in the search.

He has this advice for residents: “We depend on the public to be extra eyes and ears to what’s going on in our community. Trust your gut. If you see something that looks abnormal or suspicious, don’t hesitate to call police right away, so we can assess the situation and respond. We would rather it turned out to be nothing than to miss the chance to get help to someone who needs it.”