Vienna police helped search for autistic son


So often we take our local emergency departments and our neighborhood citizens for granted, but one Saturday evening that all changed for my husband and me when our 13-year-old autistic son wandered into the woods behind our house and vanished.

He was outside playing basketball one minute and gone the next. After checking all his usual areas of interest, I began to panic and called 911.

Within minutes, Sgt. Altiere of the Vienna Police Department was in my drive collecting as much information as possible about Christian and his habits. He then immediately began forming a search team and began looking along with the help of my family and concerned neighbors. They did a thorough sweep of the entire area on foot, in cars, ATVs, helicopter as well as a neighbor who searched in his private plane.

When it began to get dark, an Amber Alert was issued which gave a very accurate description of Christian. A short time later he was spotted by the owner of Wagon Trails, a local animal park. He immediately reported it and thankfully it was Christian that he spotted trying to climb the fence into the park. Christian was scared, soaked from all the swampy ground and freezing, but he was unharmed.

On behalf of myself, my husband and my entire family, we would like to thank The Vienna Police Department, all the emergency workers from nearby areas and all the concerned friends and neighbors who helped find our Christian.

Also, God bless all of the family, friends and strangers who prayed for Christian’s safe return, especially all of our friends from the Youngstown Christian School. The prayers were heard and answered.

Christine Bernard