South Brunswick resident reads Nixle notification, helps find missing boy with autism


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An entire community rallied to help find a missing 10-year-old nonverbal autistic boy, Ethan, on Feb. 19.

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We credit the community effort and specifically thanked one resident, Fazil Syed, who located the child in a wood line.


We had dozens of police, firefighters and EMS searching along with a helicopter, but it was the use of our Nixle system, combined with Mr. Syed’s actions, that finally found him.

The incident started at around 7:15 p.m. when Ethan’s dad headed out to the store. As the dad pulled away in the car, Ethan ran out of his Larry Court home and attempted to catch up to the car. Around 8:35 p.m., Ethan’s dad arrived and learned Ethan was not at home. The dad looked at his Nest doorbell video and realized Ethan had run out of the home at 7:17 p.m. The parents immediately called South Brunswick police to report Ethan missing.


A large scale search began involving dozens of police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel. The searchers began a backyard by backyard, street by street search for the child in freezing temperatures. A New Jersey State Police helicopter began searching nearby ponds and water locations. School officials assisted in coordinating updated information on Ethan.


Police sent out a community notification about the missing child using Nixle. Syed was home watching TV when he received the Nixle notification. Mr. Syed said he decided to get involved and see if he could help.


“I grabbed my jacket and a flashlight and began to check the area. Initially I went in one direction, but did not see anything so I decided to check towards the library. I spotted a child standing near the wood line on Kingston Lane. I called out to him, but got no response. As I crossed the street I called out again, and Ethan came running towards me and gave me a big hug. I immediately called 911 to say I found him,” Syed said.


Ethan was taken home to his parents and evaluated by EMS for his exposure to the cold.


This was the outcome we had all hoped for. By using our Nixle system we expanded our searchers from 50 to 29,000 and we found him. We all knew with the falling temperatures and the amount of time he had been missing, time was of the essence.


Thank you to all those who helped in the search, including the Monmouth Junction, Kendall Park and Kingston fire departments; South Brunswick EMS, Monmouth Junction First Aid, South Brunswick School District, New Jersey State Police, and the Middlesex County Prosecutors Office.


Raymond Hayducka
Chief, South Brunswick Police Department

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