Redford mom demands answers after 8-year-old son with autism wandered home from school alone

Mother says school district never notified her that son was missing

A Redford mom is demanding answers from the school district tonight after her eight-year-old son with autism wanders away from school and walks home. Not only that, he didn't have his coat or his backpack in below-freezing temperatures.

REDFORD, Mich. – A Redford mother is demanding answers from a school district after her 8-year-old son with autism wandered away from school and walked home alone.

The boy also reportedly didn’t have his coat or his backpack in below-freezing temperatures.

The boy’s mom, Christi Greenwalt, says it is about a 15-minute walk from the school to their home, one that crosses three major roads.

When Greenwalt popped back in at home Tuesday before leaving to pick her son up from school, she noticed something strange: Her son was already home.

“He’d walked home on his own, across three main roads,” Greenwalt said.

Her son Liam has autism, and has an aide assigned to him for the entire school day. On Tuesday, Christi Greenwalt says the normal aide was out, and he had a different one assigned to him. The mother went to Beech Elementary for answers after the incident.

“(They said he was missing for) about 20 minutes. I had no phone call,” Christi Greenwalt said. “‘You’ve been looking for my son for 20 minutes, and I had no phone call?’ This was about 45 minutes after his principal said she saw him at the lunch table.”

Christi Greenwalt says not only should the school district have called her when Liam went missing, but they also should have called the police.

“I’m very proud and thankful that he did remember how to get home. That is the only positive that has come out of this situation,” Christi Greenwalt said. “But, anything could have happened. He could have got hit by a car or caused a car accident, other people could’ve got injured, or someone could have picked him up.”

Christi Greenwalt said she did call the police, and police told her that they got calls about a boy walking alone. Officers who responded to the call said they couldn’t find the boy.

The mother said she did reach out to the superintendent, but felt like she was essentially dismissed. Local 4 reached out to the superintendent’s office for comment, but did not get a response.

More: Local news

About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.