School Delays across the Tennessee Valley

Tennessee man helps reunite missing autistic boy with his mother

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A quick-thinking man is responsible for finding a child with autism who wandered away from home Wednesday morning.

It was far from an ordinary morning for James Hubbard when he stepped into the driveway of his Central Gardens home.

"I noticed him on the third story and it seemed like he was halfway out," he said. "He looked like he needed some help, and he looked like he was scared. So I asked him what he was doing up there and he said, 'working.' I was like, 'is your dad up there?' But I knew the home is getting renovated."

Hubbard said he believes the child is around 12 years old. He said he tried several times to get to the child, but failed. After a while, the child stopped responded to his questions, so he called police.

Police said the child was able to enter the abandoned home through an open crawl space. Investigators told reporters they first learned the child had disappeared just before 7:30 a.m. after his mother called. She told the officers he walked about half a mile from their Central Avenue apartment to where Hubbard found him.

While Hubbard waited for officers to arrive he took to social media and checked the Nextdoor app. There, he quickly saw his neighbors were already talking about the missing child.

Hubbard encourages others to communicate with those who live near you.

"I think it's very important," he said. "It deters crime and helps us stay connected."

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