Autistic Boy, Missing From Concord, Found by Bernal Neighbor Alice Caruthers


An autistic 11 year-old boy who went missing from his home in Concord, California was found near the Alemany housing project in Bernal Heights last Friday after Bernal neighbor Alice Caruthers noticed that the boy looked lost.

ABC-7 carried the story:

Zachary Jordan-Smith, an 11-year-old boy with autism, walked out of class on Friday and hopped a BART train to San Francisco. He’s now been safely reunited with his family because of one woman’s instincts. […]

He was found in the 900 block of Ellsworth in San Francisco in front of a head start school.

Somehow he squeezed through a fence at Holbrook and took a path to the North Concord BART station, which is nearby, and managed to get on BART train without money.

Fortunately, he was found safe.

“A sigh of relief. An absolute sigh of relief. Words cannot describe it. We were just so nervous and all of a sudden, such relief,” his father, Chris, said.

“I want to go get my son,” his mother, Christine, added.

That’s exactly what the Jordan-Smith family did. They got in the car and drove to Concord, bound for San Francisco.

Jordan-Smith was found next to I-280 by a woman who held him there for police, and the first officer on the scene happened to be a family friend.

There were hugs and happiness all around.

“I said, ‘Lord, give me favor right now. Clear this freeway so I can get this kid.’ I said, ‘Are you lost?’ and he said, ‘Yes I’m lost.’ I said, ‘Where do you live?’ and he mentioned a street I’ve never heard of. He mentioned Concord and I said, ‘Concord, how did you get here?’ He said, “BART,’ so I said, ‘Oh, so you’re missing. I’m going to get you safe and I promise you I’m going to get you to your parents,” San Francisco resident Alice Caruthers said.

Wow. Neighbor Matt shared this detail:

My daughter’s schoolmate saw the boy running somewhat erratically down Andover and across Cortland.

Previously she and a classmate were on the J Church going outbound and had seen the boy get off on Church St. So somehow he managed to get from BART to Muni and ended up on Andover above Cortland.

What a story!


Of course, anyone who knows Neighbor Alice will tell you that her role in this Good Samaritan tale should come as no surprise: Alice Caruthers is also president of the Alemany housing project residents association and she’s served on the board at the Alemany Farm. And now, on top of all that, she’s also a superhero.

Here’s the ABC-7 video report:

PHOTO: Montage by the San Francisco Police Department

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