Mass. Organization Under Investigation After Man in Their Care Found Near Busy Interstate - NECN
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Mass. Organization Under Investigation After Man in Their Care Found Near Busy Interstate

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Missing Non-Verbal Autistic Man Found on Highway

    An autistic man was missing for hours before being found running along a busy highway.

    (Published Wednesday, July 25, 2018)

    Two employees of a Lawrence nonprofit organization were suspended after a non-verbal Autistic man in their care was found running along a busy highway.

    "There is no apology that they can say right now," David Maille said.

    According to Maille, his son  - who is also named David - was picked up by a Class, Inc. driver and a monitor for his day program in Lawrence around 8 a.m. on Monday.

    For a reason still under investigation by multiple agencies, the 28-year-old man escaped.

    Hamid Ben Laitmana was driving along Interstate 93 just before 10 a.m. Monday when he saw the younger Maille running along the highway.

    "As soon as he looked at me, he started running," Latimana said. "Automatically my feelings changed.”

    He added he was able to get ahead of Maille and park his car on the shoulder of the highway, get out, and slowly assure the scared man.

    "I bend on my knees, I opened my arms and I said, 'Buddy come on, where are you going? You have a nice day? What happened?’” Laitmana said, as he demonstrated how he approached the man. "He came to me, when he put his chest on me, I cannot tell you...his heart was beeping."

    Laitmana says he called 911. State police confirmed they received a call at 10:06 a.m. of a man on I-93 North near exit 45.

    "They had to have made a stop, because David never showed up at the program," Maille said. "He was left out there to be alone, on the streets."

    In a statement, Class, Inc. said it has launched an investigation.

    "Yesterday morning a participant in one of our day programs failed to arrive at his program in Lawrence," the company said. "According to reports, he was located by the State Police and we are relieved that he is now safely at home."

    The company added, "this critical situation is deeply concerning and we are working closely with investigating authorities."

    "In addition, we at Class are conducting our own internal investigation to learn exactly what occurred," the company added. "Staff involved in the incident have been suspended pending the results of the investigations."

    Maille said what makes him so mad is that Class, Inc. didn't report his son missing until hours later, around 4:30 p.m.

    Billerica Police confirmed Tuesday night they didn't receive a missing persons report until about that time.

    "We are still investigating but can confirm that a resident of a residential home for developmentally delayed adults located in Billerica was reported missing yesterday at approximately 4:30 p.m. and was located approximately two hours later at a Methuen hospital," the police department said in a statement. "We are currently working with DDS, the Massachusetts State Police and the Middlesex DAs office."

    No charges were filed in connection to the incident,

    Billerica Police are not the only department investigating the ordeal.

    "The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) took immediate action to ensure the safety of all clients as soon as we were made aware of this situation," the agency said in a statement "Two CLASS, Inc. employees responsible for transporting the individual have been suspended, and the case has been referred to the Disabled Persons Protection Commission for further investigation."

    Back in Lawrence, Maille says he is beyond angry.

    "It is horrible to do to any handicap person, a normal person, never mind a handicap person, to leave him out there for the day, in the rain, he said."I don't know what happened, I just don't know what happened."

    "How he got out of the van?" he added. "He didn't jump out the window."

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