SEE IT: Missing NJ autistic teen reunited with family arrives in Newark
NEWARK (PIX11) – For most parents news that their child has disappeared is grounds for all out panic.
And when that child is a highly functioning teenager with autism, in other words, highly unpredictable, you can imagine the despair that set in for Walter Karwan over his missing nineteen year old son Michael.
“I probably aged ten or fifteen years over the last seven days – but that’s ok. Because it’s worth it,” said Walter Karwan.
Worth it because Michael’s parents received an unbelievably surprising and timely; Thanksgiving family reunion.
“Detectives came yesterday, detectives Bie and detectives Tazzi. And they told me to sit down – they had something to tell me. And I thought it was bad news, I was afraid. But then they told me they found Michael,” said Karwan.
After an unsuccessfully seven day search Michael turned up in Cleveland, Ohio of all places.
Alive, healthy, and safe.
The teen who had never before done anything on his own, managed – with the cash he had on him — to leave his family’s home in Marlboro, New Jersey, get on a bus, and ultimately survive on the hardscrabble streets of Cleveland by staying in homeless shelters.
“We were just ecstatic, happy, screaming, yelling. They got more hugs yesterday than they really wanted,” said Karwan.
After receiving the good news, Michael’s parents got on a plane, picked him up in Cleveland, and returned Wednesday evening to Newark Liberty International Airport.
Michael did not speak to reporters.
But his doting mother, who we noticed protectively holding onto his arm during the news conference, along with her relieved husband, spoke up for parents whose children have been lost in this world and miraculously found.
The Karwans made it clear – they have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
“It’s a miracle, it’s a gift. I really attribute this to the almighty god that he heard our prayers. Because it’s literally a miracle to – we were down on ourselves, and you start doubting, for all this happen. I can’t tell you how happy we are that this happened,” said the elder Karwan.