INDIANAPOLIS — A missing teen with autism has been found after a massive search Tuesday morning on the northwest side.
That search was concentrated on W. 56th St. in Pike Township and involved 16-year-old Michael Pham, who was last seen around 11 p.m. Monday. Pham has severe autism and is non-verbal.
A thermal imaging drone was used to help with the search. It’s unclear how the boy got out. A Pike Township medic found him inside the Meijer at Pike Plaza. Employees pointed search teams in the teen’s direction after getting a description of the missing teen. He was located around 4:45 a.m.
Employees said he had been trying on sunglasses at the store and hadn’t caused any trouble.
According to Craig Voight, special operations chief with the Pike Township Fire Department, the teen has left home before and typically had a few different places where he sought refuge. The Meijer store was not one of those known locations. Voight said the teen left home after an argument and walked about 2.5 miles to the store.
In past cases, he’s been found within the hour after leaving home. Concerns grew overnight as hours passed without anyone locating him.
“He was at home with family,” Voight said as the search was getting underway. “He left home tonight after an argument. They were trying to get him in the bath and he wasn’t liking it too much.”
The teen has been reunited with his family.
Pike Township firefighters returned to the Pham household to give Michael a tracking device. The device will be worn on his wrist. If Michael happens to wander off again, the device is designed to transmit a specific frequency which will allow first responders to locate him quicker.