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Rear view of Best Western Hotel along the Little Calumet River

Kyrin Carter’s searchers hoped for the best but feared the worst

Contributed By:The 411 News

Drowning is a leading cause of accidental deaths in children with autism

Since the silver alert issued immediately on the afternoon of Saturday, May 15th when 12-year-old Kyrin Carter was reported missing, search efforts focused on a portion of the Little Calumet River near the Best Western Hotel, 3830 179th Street, in Hammond. The hotel is in an area where the river follows the path of I-80/94 between Cline and Kennedy avenues.

Kyrin was autistic. Silver Alerts are for missing endangered adults, high risk missing people or missing endangered children. Most often, but not always, it pertains to those with a mental or physical disability.

The search came to an end around 8pm Monday night, 11 days later, when volunteer kayaker Eric Smith located the boy's body in the river, about 100 yards from the hotel.. Numerous local law enforcement agencies, K9 teams, volunteers on horseback and foot participated in the search efforts.

Earlier during the search, Danielle Duckworth, Kyrin's mother had told NBC 5-Chicago he slipped out the back door during an engagement party. She said Kyrin always loved the water. The family came from Kansas City, Missouri for the celebration.

At Tuesday's Hammond Police Dept. press conference, Mayor Tom McDermott said, "Kyrin had wandered from the room the day before, but he was caught."

According to the Post-Tribune, "Kyrin’s great-aunt, Patricia Duckworth, said May 17th that Kyrin and his grandmother were in the room together May 15th when the grandmother dozed off for a bit. Kyrin left their room, first to the front of the hotel, she said.

"When someone in the hotel asked him, 'Where are you going', he turned around and headed to the south of the building and just steps from the Little Calumet River, where the hotel’s camera captured the last image of him,' Patricia Duckworth said."

The National Autism Association, one of the leading advocates for autism awareness, cites a 2012 study in Pediatrics, "Forty-nine percent of children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) have a tendency to wander or bolt from safe settings. Individuals with ASD are often attracted to water, yet have little to no sense of danger. Drowning is a leading cause of death in children with ASD."

Accidental drowning accounts for 71% of lethal outcomes from wanderings, followed by traffic injuries at 18%.

The Autism Association reported that wandering is among the main stress factors for parents of autistic children.

Mayor McDermott said surveillance cameras from nearby businesses had captured images of Kyrin walking west along the river’s embankment. “He could’ve have walked for a mile. We had hoped for the best, but feared the worst.”

Story Posted:05/27/2021

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