CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper is being praised for his quick actions in bringing a missing teen with autism home.
The 15-year-old teenager, whose family did not want him identified, ran away from his Union Township home . His family says he has a love for water, so there was an immediate fear that he was heading toward the Ohio River.
OSP Batavia Post Trooper Jacob McGill didn’t expect to find the teen walking on US-52, but he did. Then he set about gaining the teen’s trust.
The encounter was captured on dash cam video.
“Hey, nice to meet you buddy,” McGill said. “You alright? Where are you coming from? You wanna hang out with me for a second?”
McGill spoke to FOX19 NOW on Wednesday evening.
“He gave me the look as if he was going to run, so I activated my lights and pulled him to the crossover and stepped out of my vehicle, you know,” McGill said. “A teenager with this type of disability, you never know how they are going to act.”
According to OSP, the 15-year-old has run away in the past and has a tendency to become aggressive.
Rather than using strong-arm tactics, McGill showed compassion, connecting with the teen over his hobbies and speaking to him as he would a friend. At a certain point, the teen was comfortable enough with the trooper to get into the cruiser.
McGill says it’s part of their normal training when working with individuals with special needs.
“It’s always, go on their terms, do what they want to, because they’re in control,” he said. “We want to keep them happy. We don’t want them to be alarmed.”
That training successfully brought the teen home.
McGill says they stayed in the car and talked until Union Township police picked him up.
The trooper says he was just doing his job, but the family is thankful the teen was found quickly and unharmed.
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