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Autistic teenager found more than two years after disappearing in California

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An autistic teenager who disappeared two-and-a-half years ago in California has been found almost 800 miles (1287km) away in Utah.

Connerjack Oswalt was 17 when he went missing from his family’s home in Clearlake on 28 September 2019.

He was found by police officers on Saturday, sleeping outside a shop in Summit County, Utah.

The teenager, now 19, was shivering and cold when he was found and Sheriff Justin Martinez said he appeared to have been living on the streets for about two weeks.

Connerjack’s family had searched for him since he disappeared, even moving back to his birth town, Idaho Falls.

“Any hints at something that remotely resembled him, we would follow up on it,” said his stepfather Gerald Flint. “It’s been a real nightmare.”

His mother, Suzanne Flint, said: “I never stopped looking for him. There wasn’t a day I wasn’t searching for him, in some form or fashion.”

After officers found Connerjack, they asked him to sit in their patrol car as they took his fingerprints.

An outstanding warrant from February in Nevada was found, but Mr Martinez said officers felt there was “something beyond a criminal warrant”.

“There was a humanitarian effort that needed to be explored further,” he added.

Officers searched documents of missing children and found the 2019 report for Connerjack, which they matched with the person they had found.

The Flints were initially worried their son had been found dead when officers called them.

Mrs Flint confirmed identification through a birthmark.

“Everyone in the room was in tears. They went above and beyond, put hours of work,” Mr Flint said.

“They could have dismissed it, but they didn’t and that made all the difference in the world.”

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