A missing 6-year-old boy with autism was found safe at a Target in Texas.
Kishan Shah was reported missing around 4:40 p.m. on May 23 after exiting his family’s house in Bellaire.
Officials believe Kishan walked more than a mile, eventually making it to a Target.
A company spokesperson told KTRK that he was found trying to buy something in the self-checkout line. Employees noticed the boy and tried looking for his parents before a customer approached them and said she and her mother had seen his picture circulated on the local news.
Help find him!
— Steven Romo (@StevenABC13) May 23, 2019
Target employees then called the police and kept watch over the boy until they arrived.
“We’re incredibly proud of the quick thinking of our Target team members, who recognized the missing child, quickly called law enforcement and stayed with him until the police arrived to reunite him with his family,” said a Target spokesperson.
The family was relieved that the boy was located.
“Thank God, thank God they found him and he’s fine,” said family friend Swati Narayan. “It happened so quickly, those minutes were hours.”
Update: he’s been found!
— Steven Romo (@StevenABC13) May 24, 2019
There were 424,066 missing children reported in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center in 2018, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Under federal law, when a child is reported missing to law enforcement they must be entered into the database. In 2017, there were 464,324 entries.
“This number represents reports of missing children. That means if a child runs away multiple times in a year, each instance would be entered into NCIC separately and counted in the yearly total. Likewise, if an entry is withdrawn and amended or updated, that would also be reflected in the total,” the center noted.
The center said it assisted officers and families with the cases of more than 25,00 missing children. In those cases, 92 percent were endangered runaways, 4 percent were family abductions, 3 percent were critically missing young adults between the ages of 17 and 21, 1 percent were lost, injured, or otherwise missing children, and less than one percent were nonfamily abductions.
The center was founded by John and Revé Walsh and other child advocates in 1984 as a private, non-profit organization to serve as the national clearinghouse and resource center for information about missing and exploited children.
Nancy McBride, the executive director of Florida Outreach at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said that most of the runaways involve technology. “(Technology) has great benefits and some potential risks,” McBride told USA Today in 2017. “It’s important to stay plugged into their lives.”
Tech is utilized by online predators, McBride said, who exploit gaps when the child’s relationship with their parents isn’t strong.