NEWARK, N.J. (PIX11) — A 6-year-old autistic boy who was reported missing in Newark Monday was found unharmed several hours later, authorities said.

The child was found sleeping in a parked car near Hansbury and Elizabeth avenues, authorities said. It was unclear how he got into the vehicle.

City officials said the boy was taken to the hospital to be checked out. His parents were by his side.

“We are so proud and happy the young man was found,” Newark South Ward Councilman Patrick Council said. “We are grateful and thankful for the emergence of this community, the way they came out and rallied to help us get to this piece of closure that we have. We want to thank everyone for coming out. Our Public Safety department did a Yoman’s job being able to be on top of this and follow it all the way through.”

The boy was last seen inside his residence in the 600 block of Elizabeth Avenue around 2 a.m. His mother realized he was gone around 5 a.m., according to authorities.

Authorities spent a big chunk of their day looking for the child around Weequahic Park. The search went into the afternoon until the boy was found sleeping in the car, which was parked a few blocks away from his home. 

“When they were banging on my door, I’m like, ‘what the heck is going on?'” said neighbor Lenny Hines. “That’s when I found out the little kid was missing. But I’m glad he’s OK.”

Like many neighbors, the news of a missing child touched Hines’ soul. He is grateful for how this ended.

“There’s a whole lot of stuff going on these days, you know, you just pray for everything to be right,” Hines said.

Mira Wassef is a digital reporter who has covered news and sports in the New York City area for more than a decade. She joined PIX11 News in 2022. See more of her work here.