Volunteers gather to search for missing autistic man

January 24, 2018 10:34:50 AM



The search for Chris Reed, a 25-year-old autistic man missing since Monday, is still on. 


A group of about 30 people -- including Reed's family members and four Columbus police officers -- gathered at the Columbus Riverwalk Tuesday night to search. The crowd split into groups of about five and drove to different parts of town, from the soccer complex to Propst Park, to search for Reed.  


Area resident Jessie Drew, who is a friend of some of Reed's family, organized the search using Facebook and reminded searchers to check cars and keep off private property as they looked around town. 


Reed lives with his aunt, Brenda Jones, who reported him missing to CPD Monday. Jones said he left their house on 19th Street South Monday at about 8 a.m. As far as she knows, he didn't take a bag or his wallet.  


Jones joined the group that searched the Soccer Complex area for two hours beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friends had previously told Jones they spotted Reed at the soccer complex Monday morning, a couple of hours after Jones said he left home. 


Jones added her family spent all Tuesday driving around the city looking for Reed. 


Meanwhile, CPD officers are looking into a tip that Reed was spotted at Walmart on Highway 45 Tuesday. Chief Fred Shelton said investigators will check the store's security footage later today.  


Shelton added there are concerns about Reed's safety. Because of his condition, he may be more apt to get into a car with a stranger or less likely to seek shelter from bad weather, for example. 


"The fact that he does not communicate well and probably would not be aware of (those) dangers ... I'm concerned with his well-being," Shelton said. 


As long as CPD keeps getting reports of sightings, he still has hope of finding Reed safe, he added. 


Jones said Reed has been living with her since his mother died about a year ago. In that time, he hasn't wandered off or left home without her. However, Jones said, a couple of years ago when he was living with his mother in Brooksville, he packed a bag and left home. He was eventually found sleeping in an abandoned house. 


Jones listed Walmart on Highway 45 and Taco Bell and American Deli on Highway 182 as places Reed likes. However, she said he doesn't go to friends' homes or anywhere else without her.  


CPD has asked anyone who spots Reed to call 911, and Jones has requested she be contacted at 251-4129.