Officials are investigating how a 12-year-old boy with autism disappeared from a Bronx school for hours before he was spotted in Times Square.
The student left PS X188 on Grote Street at about 10:30 a.m. Monday, when he was last seen running down a staircase. The school shares a building with MS301, also known as the Paul Dunbar school.
NYPD Capt. Steven Ortiz said police officers, along with school staff, searched the building and "determined he was no longer inside." An alert was issued, and the boy was picked up by truant officers in Times Square and returned to the school.
Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg described the boy as a "high functioning student with disabilities."
The boy's disappearance reminded some parents of the still-missing Avonte Oquendo, the 14-year-old autistic and mute boy who has not been seen since running out of his school in Queens Oct. 4.
"They need cameras, security," said concerned parent Nicole Green. "They need to beef up security."
A recent I-Team investigation revealed weaknesses in existing security at a number of city public schools, including guards not paying attention and surveillance cameras not being monitored.
How the 12-year-old boy got to Manhattan from the Bronx, why he fled school and why he was never stopped before he could get out are under investigation.
Roseanne Colletti contributed to this report.