Missing autistic teen found safe by bicyclist in Glenview
BY MATT MCKINNEY Staff Reporter June 21, 2012 6:08AM
Kahil Gray / photo from Chicago Police
Updated: June 21, 2012 11:44AM
A missing 15-year-old autistic boy who disappeared Tuesday at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital was found safe by an alert bicyclist Thursday morning — 25 miles away in north suburban Glenview.
Kahil Gray disappeared about 4 p.m. Tuesday while he and his father were at the hospital to pick up forms. Footage from hospital video cameras shows the boy running north on Cottage Grove Avenue.
Thursday morning, Mary Olander of Morton Grove spotted Kahil on a bike path just before 8 a.m.
She recognized him from news coverage of his disappearance and approached.
“I just rolled up next to him. He was calm. He looked fine. He could understand my questions because he’d respond right away — but he couldn’t verbalize it. I was asking him where he was going and he’d just point in the direction he was walking,” Olander said.
She called 911, offered him her water bottle — which he downed in one long gulp — and waited with him until his parents arrived.
“They were just happy. [Kahil] didn’t even see me at the hospital. I’m not sure he’d recognize me, to be honest, because I was on the bike and had my hair pulled back,” she said.
Though Kahil was not a patient, the hospital staff initiated an alert as part of the infant abduction system. Hospital public safety officers and University of Chicago police locked down the facility and searched the medical and university campuses.
“I’m just glad that he’s back home,” Olander said. “I’m a parent also and can imagine how that might feel.”
How the teen got to Glenview is still unclear.