Ojai | Search and Rescue Locate Missing Autistic Teen with Public’s Help

Ventura County Sheriff – Incident Press Release

On 02-18-2020 at approximately 5:00 AM, two Ojai Valley residents awoke to find their 17-year- old daughter missing.

The missing juvenile was autistic, and it appeared she had left in the middle of the night. The juvenile had never run away before, and her family had no idea where she would have gone or what she  would  do. She had  no money and no  means of transportation.      The parents contacted Sheriff’s Dispatch and reported their daughter missing.

The parents were able to provide deputies with a detailed description of their daughter, including the clothing she commonly wore. Deputies were advised the  juvenile  was not very  social and may not respond to her name if called, but usually responded to direct questions. Due to the juvenile’s condition and limited ability to care for herself, deputies considered her “at risk” and immediately began a search of the area.

Patrol units from the Ojai Police Department and the Ventura Sheriff’s  Office Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team (SAR) conducted a search of the immediate area. Deputies and SAR Team members walked the localized search area, and then used patrol vehicles and bicycles to expand the search area throughout the Ojai Valley.

Deputies utilized social media, posting information regarding the missing juvenile on Twitter and Facebook.

Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) activated the VC Alert Emergency Notification System, and a message was sent with information to registered phone numbers in the Ojai Valley and Ventura.

At approximately 9:00 AM, Sheriff’s Dispatch received information from a reporting party stating a subject matching the description of the juvenile was seen on North Ventura Avenue by the Ojai Valley Baptist Church located at 11642 North Ventura Avenue.

Members of the Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team responded to the church and located the juvenile walking alone on the property. Team member Mary Looby made contact with the juvenile and assisted her into their vehicle. The SAR Team transported her back to her  residence where she was reunited with parents.

This search was successful because the information on the missing juvenile was spread quickly throughout the community by the means of social media and the VC Alert System.  The community shared the information which assisted in the juvenile being located.

Volunteer members of the Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team responded to the search within one hour of being contacted. They are a valuable asset to the Sheriff’s Office and play an important role in all search operations in Ventura County. These volunteers are skilled in search and rescue operations in mountain, canyon and urban settings. The  volunteers  logged 3,850 hours in 2019 on searches, rescues, recoveries, training and public events.

For more information on the VC Alert Emergency Notification System, go to www.readyventuracounty.org


Get Citizensjournal.us Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *