UPDATE: The Bronx boy who was missing has been found and was safely brought home. PIX11 News has updated this post to remove the name and image of the missing individual.
WEST FARMS, the Bronx (PIX11) — A missing 15-year-old boy with autism, was teased by other students at his Bronx high school for still taking a yellow school bus, according to his mother.
“He came home a few times saying the kids would pick on him,” Zoraida Ramirez said, “because he was taking the [yellow] bus. Or call him SPED, like he’s special ed.”
Ramirez had been attending inclusive classes at Gotham Collaborative High School in West Farms before he disappeared on Oct. 4. Police found surveillance video indicating the missing boy got on a city bus, the BX 5, after bypassing the yellow school bus.
“I got a call from the matron on the bus,” Zoraida Ramirez recalled. “She said he wasn’t on the bus.”
The worried mother said she later learned her son traveled five stops before leaving the bus in Soundview at Story and Noble avenues.
“I can’t believe this would actually happen,” The missing boy’s aunt, Maria DeJesus, told PIX11 News. “This is not like him at all. We just want him to come back home.”
But the family’s concerns are increasing as the two-week mark of the boy’s disappearance approaches.
“I love you and I want you to come home,” the teen’s mother said tearfully. “And if somebody has you, just say something.”
Zoraida Ramirez told PIX11 News her son is high-functioning and verbal. But she wanted the teen to have “travel training” before he took a city bus on his own.
“I told him, ‘I have my concerns,'” the mother said. “You know, he sometimes doesn’t pay attention to the cars or the surroundings, because he’s autistic.”
Zoraida Ramirez said her son participated in a summer job program for six weeks this year, and he was upset when she wouldn’t let him spend $400 on an expensive cologne.
The mother also learned her son had a secret social media account, aside from the one she used to monitor.
“That Wednesday, I found out he had a separate social media account I didn’t know about,” the mother said.
Zoraida Ramirez has an older son who was aware of her son’s frustrations. He has friends in the Soundview area. But the mother said the older son didn’t know the whereabouts of his younger brother.
Ramirez received word he may have received treatment at Bellevue Hospital under a different name the day after he disappeared, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
Ramirez said her 6-year-old daughter really misses her brother and wants him to come home.
“We really miss you,” Ramirez cried in a video message to her son. “Please come home. Remember, you’re not in trouble.”