UPDATED 7:44 AM MISSING CHILD FOUND
UPDATE 3:25 PM BUS DRIVER AND BUS MONITOR ARRESTED, CHARGED WITH RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT AND ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF A CHILD
NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- New Rochelle Police and Westchester County Police are engaged in a search for a missing non-verbal, autistic child, last seen at 22:00 hours getting on a Mile Square School Bus at or near Frank Davis Court at Heritage Homes in downtown New Rochelle. The bus was going to the Doyle Center (or Dole Center) in Mount Vernon. Child has not returned home. Child described as 5'2" 125 lbs, male/black, medium build. DOB 1/13/01 (age 16). Last seen wearing gray t-shirt black pants black sneakers brown coat. Search began at about 1 am. Searchers using 2 helicopters and bloodhounds, now searching waterways/lakes.
UPDATE 7:26 AM: Mount Vernon PD has joined search. Police have checked school buses, lakes at New Rochelle High School, coastline.
UPDATE 7:44 AM MISSING CHILD FOUND, APPEARS TO BE OK. New Rochelle PD responding to location. Child reported to now be with bus company employee, drinking hot chocolate.
UPDATE 7:53 AM NRPD working on a statement, will post here as soon as it's available.
UPDATE 8:15 AM Child was located at bus depot located at 325 Miller Place in Mount Vernon. Google Street View images show 100+ "First Student" yellow school buses. Early information indicates child spent night on a bus at the depot in sub-freezing temperatures (current temp is 22 degrees F with feels like temperature of 13 degrees F). NRPD was search Mile Square bus depot on Fifth Avenue in New Rochelle.
UPDATE 3:25 PM Police issue official statement, announce arrest of 2 people in connection with the case.
At approximately 0016 hours on March 4 2017 New Rochelle Police Department received a call from a mother reporting her 16 year old special needs child missing. The child was to have been dropped off by First Student Inc. Bus at approximately 9:30 p.m. on March 3, 2017 after attending an event in New Rochelle. The child regularly attends these events.
NRPD units responded to the residence and searched the premises determining that the child was not present they also responded to the location of the event and similarily confirmed the child was not present at location, Police canvassed surrounding areas looking for the child and interviewed via telephone the bus monitor. The bus monitor was identified as Iakua Haywood of New Rochelle. She related that she had personally witnesses the child exit the bus and enter his residence.
An exhaustive search continued for the next several hours with assistance of Westchester County Police Dept and Public Safety Aviation and K-9 Units. The search was unsuccessful.
Subsequently it was determined that the child most probably did not return to the residence after the event which he attended.
Detectives were able to contact the contracted bus company manager who determined via GPS that the bus contracted had not stopped at the child’s residence as the police had been informed.
The bus company manager responded to the bus company garage in Mount Vernon and located the child still on the bus in question at approximately 0740 hours then contacted the NRPD.
Detectives in New Rochelle and units from the Mount Vernon Police Department responded. The child appeared in good health and was transported to his residence and reunited with his mother. An ambulance responded to evaluate his condition.
The bus driver identified as Laikhraj Prashad Persaud of the Bronx.
Mr. Persaud was located and interviewed as was bus monitor Ms. Haywood.
It became apparent that numerous safety procedures violated placing the child at risk and that New Rochelle Police Department had been purposely been misled with false information placing the child at substantial risk of harm delaying and delaying and misdirecting the search efforts.
Both gave statements indicating their culpability for events.
Both were subsequently charged with Reckless Endangerment-2nd Degree and Endangering the Welfare of a Child-2nd Degree, both misdemeanors.
There is no further information being provided at this time.