Media Advisory: Officer Reunited with Seven-Year-Old with Autism Whom He Located

WHAT:

The media is invited to the reunion of Officer Jonathan Pruziner and 7-year-old Sahara and her mother, Mary.  Officer Pruziner located Sahara after she went missing from her home. Officer Laurie Reyes of the Autism/Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Outreach Unit will also be in attendance.

WHEN:

Today, Friday, March 10 at 11:00 a.m.

WHERE:

Montgomery County Police 5th District Station
20000 Aircraft Drive
Germantown

SUMMARY:

On Saturday, March 4 at approximately noon, officers were called to a residence in Germantown for the report of a missing seven-year-old with Autism who is non-verbal.  The child, Sahara, whose nickname is “Mookie,” had run out of the home.  The babysitter located Sahara at a local park but when the babysitter called for her, Sahara ran off.

Officers and K9 teams responded to the area and began an extensive search for Sahara.  The Police Department also called for the assistance of a Maryland State Police helicopter.  Officer Pruziner, who had learned in MCP training that those with Autism can have a dangerous attraction to water, walked behind the town homes on Locustdale Drive to a creek that leads to a pond.  At approximately 1:15 p.m., Officer Pruziner located Sahara by the creek.  He requested that Fire and Rescue personnel respond and access Sahara for possible cold exposure (temperatures were in the 30s that day).  She was transported to a local hospital and then to Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., for treatment of hypothermia.

After Sahara was located, Officer Laurie Reyes of the Autism/Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Outreach Unit reached out to Sahara’s family and caregivers.

QUESTIONS:

Please call the Police Department’s Public Information Office at 240-773-5030, option 4.

RLI