Police Investigation Sparked After 4-Year-Old With Autism Runs Past 3 Workers At Care Center Onto Busy Road

Police Investigation Sparked After 4-Year-Old With Autism Runs Past 3 Workers At Care Center Onto Busy Road

Police are investigating an autism care center after a 4-year-old girl walked past three workers onto a busy road in the middle of the day.

According to ABC 13, the child's mother, Gabriele Washington, said that the nonverbal girl with autism was supposed to be under the care of the Apara Autism Center on N. Post Oak.

Washington said that surveillance footage shows the girl walking past multiple employees before passing the receptionist's desk and exiting the building.

She said, "She ran by three therapists inside, and then when she got to the receptionist's desk, no one was at the receptionist desk. She went through two doors. And out the door within a minute."

Per ABC 13, the girl is doing fine after the scary incident. A Good Samaritan saw the girl walking into traffic and stopped to help her.

"It may have ended another way, and my child today was blessed. God was protecting her the whole way. About a block and a half away on the side of the road coming into traffic. She was running toward her (the good Samaritan's) car," Washington explained.

Washington added that the center failed to notify her of the incident. A third-party therapist who works with the young girl informed Washington that a stranger had found her daughter wandering on a busy road.

After the Good Samaritan called the police, employees from the center started looking for the girl and eventually found her with the Good Samaritan.

Washington told the news outlet that when she arrived at the center to pick up her child, she saw police taking statements.

In a statement to ABC 13, Apara Autism Center said:

"It is our life's work and mission to provide a safe, educational, and therapeutic environment for meaningful developmental achievements in the lives of children with autism. In the pursuit of that mission, safety is paramount, and we are grateful for those who cared and went above and beyond to lend support (Tuesday). We are thankful the child was returned quickly and safely to our Memorial Clinic. This is unprecedented for Apara, and we will conduct a full investigation into the circumstances of this incident."

Houston police are also investigating the incident.

Malorie Thompson

Malorie works as a writer and editor in Northern California. She's passionate about food, conscious living, animal welfare, and conservation. She's worked with a variety of publications in different sectors but is happiest covering topics close to her heart. When not at her laptop, Malorie can be found enjoying picnics on the beach, hiking in the redwoods, and spending time with her rescue pup, Jax.

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