Missing autistic man found, safe with family, police say

His family says he could be in unconventional places.
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 8:49 PM EDT
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UPDATE 10:40 p.m.: Nathaniel Coffin has been found, according to Oxford police. He is safe and has been reunited with his family.

Police say they will release more information Thursday.

Previous story below.


OXFORD, Ohio (WXIX) - Around 50 people gathered Wednesday to search the Pater Wildlife Area near Oxford for Nathaniel Coffin.

Oxford police say 26-year-old Coffin, who is autistic, is missing and was last seen in Oxford wearing sweatpants, a black zip-up fleece jacket and moccasins. He might also be wearing welding-type goggles.

Members of the community came to the Prater Wildlife area because Nathaniel’s family says the most recent tip is that he was seen on Reilly Millville Road, which is nearby.

“He like woods, the creeks, and rivers, and likes to be outside,” said Nathaniel’s father, Doug Coffin.

Doug describes Nathaniel as high-functioning.

“Intellectually, he’s superior,” he said. “He just has some communication problems. He doesn’t always think practically very well.”

The family says they had seen Nathaniel just hours before he went missing on Tuesday. He had packed a duffel bag and sleeping bag for a trip the family was taking.

Some of those who came Wednesday, like Phillip Loges, are Doug’s students. He’s a professor at Miami University.

“He put his effort into helping us learn,” Loges said, “so might as well do something to try to help him.”

“I’m glad to know there are a lot of people in this area that are interested in finding him and that the more people that look, the more chance we’re going to be able to find him,” Doug said.

Right now, the Coffin family is urging everyone in the Oxford area to search in unconventional areas.

“Could be tucked away in somebody’s barn or something like that,” Doug said. “Hopefully he found some place to shelter in the cold weather, and he might still be there in his sleeping bag, so if everybody can look anywhere they can possibly think of.”

Since there is a focus on areas connected to nature, Oxford police want people to check Deer cameras that might be on their property.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Oxford Police Department at 513-523-4321.

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