NEW YORK (PIX11) — Connor Lian, a nonverbal, 16-year-old with autism, is now back home and safe with his family. But it was a harrowing 24 hours for his parents after the teen went missing in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.

California residents William and Amy Lian were having a great time on a family vacation Wednesday evening. They were showing Connor and his twin brother, Samuel, who also has autism, their dad’s old stomping grounds during the boys’ first visit to New York City.

“We went to New York City Library,” said William.

William said joy turned to panic after they left the public library on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and suddenly found themselves surrounded by a group of protesters who just happened to be passing by.

“He heard a loud noise. He got scared, and he just ran away from us. I turn around and he was just gone. I looked all over the place and I couldn’t see him,” said William.

By Thursday morning, there was still no sign of Connor.

“We were so worried last night we couldn’t sleep,” said William.

But then, at around 3 p.m. Thursday, a surprise visitor showed up at the relative’s home they were staying at, located 10 miles away from the Manhattan library in Flushing, Queens.

“It’s a miracle! I did not even know how he got home. It was the first time for him to be in New York City. And first time taking a train ride. Everything is the first time for him,” said William.

After a short visit to a nearby hospital for an evaluation, Connor is back home. William said he’s just thankful his son is safe.

“I have no idea how it happened,” said William.