Autistic child left on the bus, Lapeer mom says

Published: Aug. 30, 2019 at 11:22 PM EDT
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An hour and a half a Lapeer mom will never forget. Her five year old daughter with autism went missing after getting on the bus after school.

The little girl is home safe, but her mom is still very much shaken.

Charlie Fox was diagnosed with nonverbal autism a few years back.

"Usually just yes or no answers," mother Sarah Fox said.

Fox wants nothing more than to help her little girl. Each morning she takes Charlie down to her bus stop, which is a couple of blocks away.

She says it took time, but eventually, she trusted the Lapeer Community Schools bus driver and the aide to get her daughter where she needs to be safely. Fox says that didn't happen on Wednesday because her daughter never made it to therapy.

"What do you mean she's not there. Are you sure she's not there," Fox said.

Fox always worried this day might happen. She checked the GPS equipped belt Charlie wears, but the battery was dead. Fox says she called the bus garage to see what happened and she got an answer she didn't expect.

"Well whoever we gave her too yesterday that's who we gave her too. That was me, so I hung up on and then called my daughter back and made her check the house," Fox said.

Friends, family, and police were all searching for Charlie. Fox says then there was a call about an hour a half later Charlie was here at the Lapeer Community bus garage on bus 79 just waiting.

"She couldn't have asked for help. She couldn't have screamed. She just sat there and waited wondering why she was buckled in, and no one was there," Fox said.

Lapeer schools have apologized to the family. They've told ABC 12 the incident is still under investigation and cannot comment publicly at this time. Fox says an apology isn't enough because this one day has set Charlie back.

"She's been hitting herself more, and she gets frustrated more. She's been headbanging herself more, which means there are bruises on her head more," Fox said.

Fox says she plans to take Charlie to school and therapy herself from now on.

"Give her to me and hug her so tight and not letting go ever," Fox said.