January 25, 2018 10:51:41 AM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
Fifty-seven hours after his aunt had last seen him at his home on 19th Street, a 25-year-old autistic man was found safe and unharmed walking around in his backyard Wednesday afternoon.
Chris Reed, who Monday morning was reported missing after he apparently left home by himself, had been well cared for during the two days his family, city first responders and community volunteers had spent looking for him, according to a Columbus Police Department press release.
A neighbor spotted Reed walking around in his backyard a little after 5 p.m. Wednesday and called 911, CPD Chief Fred Shelton said Wednesday. Within a few minutes, police and EMTs were on the scene checking Reed for any sign of injury.
The press release said authorities believe someone Reed knew well had been caring for him during the time he was missing and that person dropped him off at his home Wednesday.
City public information officer Joe Dillon said no criminal activity is expected in the case but admitted there are "a lot of unanswered questions."
Reed's aunt, Brenda Jones, said she last saw Reed at the residence where he lives with her about 8 a.m. Monday. She reported him missing later that day, prompting a search by CPD, Columbus Fire and Rescue and community volunteers who organized on Facebook and spent two hours searching different parts of the city Tuesday night. The same group, organized by Jessie Drew, a friend of Jones' niece, planned to meet Wednesday night at CPD and do another search, handing out fliers with Reed's picture on it and posting them at restaurants and other businesses.
Police received several reports of sightings, including one at Walmart Tuesday and another on Bell Road Wednesday afternoon, but both those reports turned out to be false.
Reed began living with Jones after his mother's death about a year ago, Jones said. She added in that time, he had never before wandered away from home.
The Dispatch attempted to contact Jones but could not reach her by press time.
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