PRESCOTT, Wis. (WCCO) — A false alarm Tuesday in the search for a missing 5-year-old Wisconsin boy with autism led to even more heartache for his mother and father.
Police began searching for Scott Meyer — a non-verbal boy with autism who goes by “Scotty” — around noon after he went missing from N4842 1165th St. in Oak Grove. He left the home while its air conditioner was being fixed.
“This is a parent’s worst nightmare and you get to a point where you are just numb,” said Barb Meyer, the boy’s mother.
Scotty is Barb Meyer’s youngest son. She said all of her three boys have autism and that Scotty has not ventured more than a few feet from the family’s front door.
Scotty is described as 3-feet-tall, with short blond hair in a buzz cut and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing bright green shorts and no shirt.
Authorities sent out hundreds volunteers in groups of 15 into 90-degree weather to search for Scotty. They searched through tall grass and wooded areas all throughout the afternoon and evening.
“It’s warm, but you put that aside and you think about what he’s going through,” said one volunteer named Sandy.
Shortly after 7 p.m., a searcher thought they found Scotty. But the initial jubilation, which some media tweeted out, quickly soured. It was a false alarm.
“Horrible,” Barb Meyer described it.
Scotty’s father, Richard Meyer, said the family is still holding onto hope and praying that their son will be found soon.
“We feel that he is close, that he is scared,” Barb Meyer said. “But we want him home. I want my baby home and I want him safe.”
Scotty’s aunt Rose Poss said he walked out of the home without a shirt or shoes. He was only wearing swim trunks. She said the family’s very concerned given the heat and the amount of time he’s been missing.
The Minnesota State Patrol assisted the Pierce County Sheriff in the search Tuesday. Although authorities said they would not use volunteers overnight, they will continue to search through the darkness, using thermal imaging. They will continue the search with volunteers in the morning.
If you would like to help in the search on Wednesday, report to The Prescott High School, 1220 St. Croix St. at 8:00 a.m. Authorities advise you to wear long pants, tennis shoes and bring bug spray and water.
If you see the boy or have information on his whereabouts, call the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office at 715-273-5051.