Utah agents find an Idaho Falls native who went missing as a teenager in California
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A 19-year-old who disappeared from his family home in California nearly three years ago was found in Utah, bringing awe and relief to his parents who feared they would never see him again.
Connerjack Oswalt was shivering and cold when sheriff’s agents met him Saturday as he slept at a convenience store in Summit County, known for its ski areas, Sheriff Justin Martinez said. It looked like Oswalt had been living on the street there for about two weeks.
His family had been looking for him for years, handing out flyers, scanning social media, and desperately chasing fruitless leads. They even returned to his hometown, Idaho Falls, hoping he would eventually return there.
“Any hint of anything even remotely resembling him, we would have followed,” said his stepfather, Gerald Flint. “It was a real nightmare.”
Oswalt, diagnosed with autism and other mental health conditions, was 17 when he left the family home from Clearlake, California. Her mother, Suzanne Flint, remembered making quesadillas, but when she was lunchtime she was gone.
“I never stopped looking for him. There wasn’t a day that I wasn’t looking for it, somehow or other way, ”she said. The exact circumstances of his disappearance and the whereabouts of the past two years are under investigation, police said.
What his family knows is that after cops found Oswalt at the Utah convenience store, they asked him if he wanted to get into their patrol car and warm up. He agreed and eventually let the agents take the fingerprints.
This led them to an exceptional February term in Nevada.
“The cops felt there was something there, something beyond a criminal warrant. There was a humanitarian effort that needed to be explored further, ”Martinez said.
The agents got to work moving through the paperwork, looking for reports of missing and endangered children. About 16 pages later, they found a 2019 disappearance report from Clearlake, California. Although he had a slightly different spelling of the name than the Nevada warrant, the photos matched and named his family.
When the Flints got their first call, they feared their son had been found dead. After his wife confirmed the identification through a birthmark, Gerald Flint quit his job, jumped into his car, and drove four hours in Utah.
“Everyone in the room was in tears. They went above and beyond, they put in hours of work, “she said.” They could have ignored it, but they didn’t and it made a difference in the world. “
Autism-aware social workers took care of Oswalt after he was reunited with his family, Summit County Sheriff Lt. Andrew Wright said. His family hopes to bring him home soon.
“We didn’t treat him like a criminal. We treated you like someone who has something deeper that we needed to dig into, “Martinez said.” That insight is what really brought this family together. “