Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Autistic Boy Struck By Train

7 Apr 2011Every parent’s worst nightmare would be having their child going missing. The thoughts that would run through your head, as a parent of a missing child, I could imagine, would be nothing but chaotic. What if that child had a disability? Those thoughts would be even more rampant.

The truth is, this type of situation occurs more than anyone would like to acknowledge, and for an un-identified Victorian family, their worst nightmare became a reality last week, when their 6 year old autistic son went missing from the family home in Corio, Vic.

The boy, whose only been identified as Kieran, wandered away from his home at around 6pm on the 31st March, and family alerted police that he was missing about an hour later. Kieran eventually made his way to onto some train tracks, almost 2.5kms away. Tragically, he was struck by a train, which was carrying 275 passengers at the time. The horrified driver of the locomotive pulled the emergency brake to stop the train, but with the time it took for the 120 tonne vehicle to pull up, it was too late. Kieran died at the scene.

The train stayed on the tracks for an hour, with the distressed passengers still inside, who were aware of what had happened, until the area was cleared by police.

Police stated that there were a number of sightings of a young boy walking along the highway that led to the tracks and of the same boy walking along the train tracks, where he was struck, but nobody bothered to call the police. In missing person cases, police aim to locate missing children within the first half an hour of their disappearance. If someone had of notified police that a boy was walking on the highway, and train tracks, Kieran’s life may have been saved, as he was only struck around 25 minutes after police were notified of his disappearance.

His family who are undoubtedly distressed by the news of Kieran’s death, have requested privacy, and have asked for their names not to be released, while they dealt with this personal tragedy. In a statement, a relative of Kieran’s said "He was a beautiful boy and we are working through our grief at this point in time”.

It just baffles me that no one even stopped or called for assistance after seeing a six year old child walking alone, near traffic and trains! This reiterates the fact that if you see a child wandering alone, or anything strange, no matter how silly you feel, call the police, because you could end up saving a life.

Have you ever had any similar stories of your child going missing that ended in a happy outcome?

If you have a child with autism, what are your methods for knowing where they are and what they are doing when you can’t be right next to them at all times?


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Previous Comments

catherine from ontario canada posted on 10 Sep 2011
i have an autistic 5yr old daughter who briefly went missing when she unlocked the front door and wandered outside. luckily, we noticed right away and found her up the street at the school playground. it scares the life right out of you. i flew out my front door, not knowing where to even begin looking, praying no one took her and we live on a busy street and im thinking how did she not get hit by a car?...how did she cross the street by herself? its insanity to say the least! thankfully, my story has a happy ending, but i surely do feel the pain of not knowing, even if it was only for 5 mi utes or so...:(

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