Missing autistic teen found safe in Glenview
Mary Olander, of Morton Grove, found 15-year-old Kahil Gray on her bike path two days after he wandered away from Comer Children's Hospital on Chicago's South Side. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 24, 2012 10:09PM
A missing 15-year-old autistic boy was found safe Thursday by an alert bicyclist in Glenview, two days and 25 miles away from where he was last seen at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital.
Kahil Gray disappeared about 4 p.m. Tuesday while he and his father were at the hospital to pick up forms. Footage from hospital video cameras shows the boy running north on Cottage Grove Avenue.
Mary Olander, of Morton Grove, spotted Kahil on a bike path just before 8 a.m. Thursday.
She recognized him from news coverage of his disappearance and approached.
“I just rolled up next to him. He was calm. He looked fine. He could understand my questions because he’d respond right away — but he couldn’t verbalize it. I was asking him where he was going and he’d just point in the direction he was walking,” Olander said.
She called 911, offered him her water bottle — which he downed in one long gulp — and waited with him until his parents arrived.
“They were just happy. [Kahil] didn’t even see me at the hospital. I’m not sure he’d recognize me, to be honest, because I was on the bike and had my hair pulled back,” she said.
Though Kahil was not a patient, the hospital staff initiated an alert as part of the infant abduction system. Hospital public safety officers and University of Chicago police locked down the facility and searched the medical and university campuses.
“I’m just glad that he’s back home,” Olander said. “I’m a parent also and can imagine how that might feel.”
How the teen got to Glenview is still unclear.