Meridian Star

May 22, 2013

Autistic man found

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     An autistic man county authorities have been searching for since Sunday was found in good condition Tuesday, according to Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department officials.

    LCSD Chief Chief Dep. Ward Calhoun said Tuesday afternoon that Darren Johnson, 20, was recovered by a LCSD deputy after a citizen called 911 to report a suspicious person walking along John C. Stennis Drive near Naval Air Station Meridian.

    "The citizen observed a person walking along the roadway and called dispatch and when the deputy arrived on the scene it was the Johnson subject," Calhoun said. "The man was checked out by medical personnel and returned to his family. He did not have any injuries to speak of."

    Calhoun said there was no way to know where Johnson had been since Sunday, when he walked away from his home at a mobile home park near the front gate of the Navy base on Rabbit Road.

    "He doesn't speak so we don't know where he has been," Calhoun said.

    After receiving calls that Johnson was missing, LCSD and Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency personnel converged on the mobile home park to try and locate the man. Sunday evening the search, involving up to 25 volunteer firefighters, was suspended because of darkness and after all possible routes and areas had been searched.

    "We have discussed with the family the importance of keeping an eye on this man to ensure this doesn't happen again," Calhoun said. "A lot of bad things could have happened to him during these last 36 hours."