UPDATE: Missing Independence man with autism found safe

Posted at 12:01 PM, Jan 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-25 18:10:37-05

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Police say Daniel Gutridge has been found and is safe after hours of searching.

Twenty-seven-year-old Daniel Gutridge, who has autism and is non-verbal, walked away from his group home Friday around 9 a.m.

Police conducted a search for Gutridge in the area of Leslie Drive and Linwood Avenue. 

Just before 1:30 p.m. Independence Police received a call from Kansas City police that they had found Gutridge.

Gutridge was found near train tracks in the area of I-435 and Winner Rd. Police said they think he followed the train tracks from Independence.

Police said there are many concerns when an adult who has autism goes missing. 

Officers trained in mental health are taught to search near creeks, lakes, streams and rivers first. People who have autism are drawn to water but sometimes do not understand the dangers associated with it. 

“Very rarely are we notified of something like this where we conduct such an extensive search but this was a unique situation. You have an adult who is non-verbal and severely autistic on that spectrum, and we wanted to locate him and it was quite a concern for us,” Officer John Syme of the Independence Police Department said.

Gutridge was reunited with family shortly after he was found.