Autistic student wanders away from school

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Administrators in the Alief Independent School District are trying to figure how an 11-year-old girl wandered away unnoticed from Owens Intermediate School Wednesday.

The girl, who school officials said is autistic and can't communicate verbally, was missing for nearly two hours before being found miles away from campus.

"That is very scary, how did they even let her off campus?" said parent Keino Phillips.

Fortunately, Alief ISD police officers found the girl unharmed.
"I think that's crazy, she's only 11-years-old," said parent Sharyl Medrano.

School officials said campus administrators notified Alief ISD police the girl was missing at 12:30pm. After searching in and around campus for more than an hour school officers then asked HPD to help expand the search. At 2:15pm the girl was found at a fast food restaurant at the intersection of Kirkwood and Westheimer; 3.6 miles away from campus.

"I would hope they would keep up with my kid a little better than that," said Phillips. "That's not very responsible."

Since the girl cannot communicate verbally, school officials said they are not able to understand why she left campus or how she covered so much ground in such a short amount of time.

Alief ISD police officers are now reviewing video from school surveillance cameras and interviewing the girl's teachers to try to understand how the girl was able to wander off without anyone noticing.

School administrators said they are also reviewing all campus policies and procedures to make sure something like this does not happen again.

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