LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - What started as a day at the doctor for the Reichler family, ended with a call to police.
Sarah Reichler said her husband was busy rearranging appointments at the front desk, and when he turned to leave, he noticed someone was missing.
"When he was done he looked around and saw Aaron was gone, and he said, 'where's Aaron?', and they said, 'Oh, he left awhile ago,'" said Sarah. "I was terrified, I mean, I was so scared."
Sarah said after searching for her 13-year-old son, Aaron, for more than two hours, she decided to contact police.
Lafayette Police Sergeant Scott McCoy said the department immediately became concerned, not only because of the cold temperatures, but because of something else.
"She had indicated that he's an Autistic child, a high functioning Autistic child," said McCoy. "So, it kind of ramped up the emergency nature of the call."
McCoy said that's when he suggested they use the ACIM system, which stands for "A Child Is Missing."
McCoy said the department received the free messaging system back in March of 2009, and while they've only had to use it 19 times, he said it's a program that helps them immensely.
"ACIM will pinpoint that location, and make automated phone calls to 1,000 to 1,500 listed phone numbers in a very, very, very, short amount of time," said McCoy. "So, it's like an extra set of eyes and ears for us."
McCoy said the automated recording will include information such as the child's age, gender, and other physical characteristics, including what the child was last seen wearing.
While ACIM was deployed in this instance, McCoy said Aaron was located by an officer about 10 minutes later, but four hours after he was first reported missing.
"I know my way around downtown, but I just didn't come home because I was garbage picking," said Aaron.
"He came in and he was so soaked and he had his coat open and his shirt was filthy and he just looked so beautiful to me, and I squeezed him really hard," said Sarah.
"My mom was so happy when she found me, she cried tears of joy," said Aaron.
McCoy wants everyone to be aware that when you hear the call, please take a few minutes and listen. Those few minutes can help locate a lost loved one, and possibly save a life.
McCoy said for more information on the ACIM system, you can log onto the Lafayette Police Department website and click on the phone tab at the top of the screen.
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