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January 2011



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First Published Sunday, 10 May 2009

A major search is under way after a vulnerable autistic teenager went missing during a walk with carers.

Seventeen-year-old Richard Eckton, who is understood to have the mental age of a three-year-old, was last seen at 6.30pm on Saturday in the area of Eggesford near Chumleigh, Devon.

A Devon and Cornwall police spokesman said Richard’s condition tends to encourage him to move towards water and he has difficulty communicating so normally carries a blue folder with pictures to help him.

It is understood he was walking along a footpath near a river when he ran away from his two carers into nearby woodland.

The spokesman said: “Richard is autistic and vulnerable.

“He is a white male, fair, mousy hair short, blue eyes, fair skinned, slim build, wearing blue jeans and white t-shirt.”

The spokesman said the force is being helped in the search by various moorland rescue groups and dog handlers.

Supt Sarah Sharpe told BBC News they are “very concerned” about Richard’s welfare.

She said: “Temperatures were quite low and he was only wearing a T-shirt, so we’re very concerned, particularly with the location of the river nearby.

“He is very vulnerable and it’s absolutely crucial we find him as soon as possible.”

Source:   http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20090510/tuk-search-launched-for-autistic-youth-6323e80.html

Vulnerable boy found after search

Police helicopter

The force helicopter spotted the teenager wandering around a field

An autistic teenager, with a mental age of three, who went missing on Saturday has been found.

A major search was launched when Richard Eckton ran off while out walking with carers at Eggesford, Chumleigh at about 1830 BST.

Police, dogs, divers and moor Rescue teams were involved in the search for the 17-year-old.

The Devon and Cornwall Police helicopter found the teenager in a field near Eggesford about midday.

A police spokesman said the vulnerable teenager was safe and well and had been reunited with his father.

Richard had been walking along a footpath which follows the River Taw and the Tarka rail line when he ran away from his carers into nearby woodland.

He was found on on a sandbank in the middle of the river after a search of 18 hours.

Source(Includes Video):   http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/devon/8042570.stm

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