Connerjack Oswalt: Footage shows the moment parents find out teen is alive 3 years after he went missing
The teen had disappeared from Clearlake, California in September 2019, and was found earlier this month near Park City, Utah
Footage obtained from a police bodycam shows the emotional moment a Californian mother was told Connerjack Oswalt, her autistic teenage son, was found alive three years after he was reported missing. The 19-year-old disappeared from Clearlake, California on September 28, 2019, when he was 16 years old.
Oswalt was found earlier this month outside a gas station store near Park City, Utah, more than 700 miles away from his home. The teen, who was diagnosed with autism in 2014, was spotted by Summit County Sheriff's officers shivering late at night in the cold. It is unclear what Oswalt was up to for the three years he was missing, but the investigation remains underway.
The police had received reports about a boy wandering the area with a shopping cart for several weeks. "You look like you're shivering. You cold? You want to come sit in his car and warm up for a minute?" one of the officers asked Oswalt. "We can't have you sitting in front of the door here all night," he added.
The officers led him to their patrol vehicle to warm up while they asked him questions. As per reports, Oswalt agreed to have his fingerprints scanned, but he refused to or was unable to give them his name. One of the officers began searching the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database. Oswalt's stepfather Gerald Flint drove to Utah to verify his identity.
Bodycam footage showed the stepfather sitting in a room with the mother on speakerphone. She described a distinctive birthmark on his neck, which was confirmed to be found on Oswalt by the police. The police then showed the stepfather a picture from when the teenager went missing and kept it next to an image clicked recently. The mother asked, "Is it him?" to which the stepfather replied, "A little bit older, but yeah."
On hearing that, the mother broke down and started crying. "Oh wow! My sweetheart's alive!" she said as the sound of her crying filled the room. "There wasn't a dry eye in the room. They've been reunited with this individual they haven't seen for three years when he was 16. He's now 19," said Sheriff Martinez.
"We searched all over California. We're just grateful that he's safe and he's alive and we have our son back. That's the most important thing ever for us," the mother told Fox 13. "Honestly, I'm still dumbstruck by the situation. We've had a lot of false hope over the last two-and-a-half years. To find him alive is incredible," the stepfather added.
"Over the past couple weeks, many in our community called us about a homeless person wandering around the Kimball Junction area, pushing a shopping cart. Deputies responded each time and offered services to the young man, who was NOT violating any laws - he refused any help. Finally, on Saturday, April 9th, a truly concerned community member contacted us after seeing the young man sleeping at the Jeremy Store in Jeremy Ranch. Summit County Sheriff’s Deputies quickly responded and found a cold young man. They got him in their warm patrol vehicle and began digging to find out who the man was. Through past interactions and the Saturday interaction, it was clear to deputies that the man communicated differently. Deputies and dispatchers began to investigate who this young man was. Deputies were able to reunite Connerjack with his family, who was losing hope," the Facebook post by Summit County Sherrif read.