Missing Roanoke boy with autism returns home safely

The search for the boy lasted over six hours and involved 60 officers

ROANOKE, Va. – Law enforcement and family are taking a big sigh of relief after a 13-year-old boy with autism came home safely.

Bobby Curry was reported missing a little after 7 a.m. on Tuesday when his legal guardians did not find the boy in his bedroom.

Phyllis Reyes, Bobby’s cousin and legal guardian, said that after making the call to 9-1-1, her emotions felt like a rollercoaster.

“Hurt. Upset. Just trying to keep my mind focused on him even though everything was kind of going crazy in my mind as to where he might be,” Reyes said.

60 officers from various agencies including Roanoke City Police Department, Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and Roanoke Fire-Ems set up a central meeting location at the Food Lion off of Shenandoah Avenue and Peters Creek Road.

It was there that WSLS 10 learned more details about the child from Captain Andrew Pulley with Roanoke City Police Department and about the active search to find him. One of their biggest focuses was how to safely approach Bobby when he was found.

“Yelling and running toward him would probably be a bad idea. I know you’re trying to help but think about it from his perspective,” Pulley said.

Crews started their search in the 100 block of Frances Drive and expanded beyond that point.

And just before 1 p.m., police received a call from a woman that she was with the child.

Police said that the woman had picked up Bobby on northern Shenandoah Avenue and drove him around to find his home, then took him back to her own house before receiving the Virginia State Police alert about the missing child. It was then that she called the police.

“He was safe. He was unharmed. He was returned immediately to his guardians back at their residence,” Pulley said.

Fortunately, Bobby made it home safely, but his family is still wondering why he decided to leave in the middle of the night.

“Of course we’re happy, joyful that he’s here,” Reyes said. “But as a parent, you ask yourself why. You know you’re happy but there’s also that little bit of why? What were you thinking? What was going through your mind?”

Bobby’s biological parents live down in Martinsville, and Reyes explained how the situation impacts Bobby.

“I know that he misses his mom greatly so that’s kind of hard on him as well. I’m sure there’s a lot of emotions going on with Bobby,” Reyes said. “I’m very grateful for everyone that participated in bringing him back home and getting home safe.”

About the Author

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.

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