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Missing Man with Autism Located by Police at “Big E” Fairgrounds in West Springfield

Press Release 09/27/2016

West Springfield, Mass. (9/27/16)

A 27 year old man with autism who became separated from his caregiver at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds on Tuesday was located due to the quick actions of police combined with a specialized tracking technology called SafetyNet.

The man, who is also non-verbal, disappeared into the crowd of tens of thousands with no known direction of travel. His caregiver immediately called 911 and also notified SafetyNet Tracking Systems which is a Boston-based company that provides tracking devices for people with cognitive conditions who go missing. This man has been wearing a SafetyNet tracking device since 2012.

Within minutes, an alert had gone out to the hundreds of law enforcement officers at the fairgrounds as well as to the Massachusetts State Police Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) who are equipped with tracking equipment provided by SafetyNet. The equipment, and the transmitter that was being worn by the missing man, work on radio frequency technology which allows searchers to track and locate a missing individual, even if they are in a building or other structure. Unlike GPS and other technologies, radio frequency has the ability to penetrate steel, concrete, earth, water and other solid materials.

After being reported missing at about 12:45PM, officers from numerous agencies began an intensive ground search while state police alerted their SERT members in the area along with a helicopter based out of Plymouth.  Using a State Police All-Terrain Vehicle, troopers with SafetyNet tracking equipment quickly picked up the man’s signal in the massive park and began a track in the direction where the signal was coming from. Within a short time of initiating the track, troopers, along with officers from the West Springfield Police Department, located the man unharmed and returned him to his caregiver.

SafetyNet has had more than 550 successful searches for missing people with cognitive conditions since its inception in 2010 and the program is available statewide in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island as well as parts of 16 other states. For more information on SafetyNet call (877) 434-6384 or go to the SafetyNet website at www.safetynettracking.com.


For More Information Contact:

Ralph Poland
Field Operations Manager
Marshfield MA Police (Ret.)
110 K  St.
Boston MA 02127
Phone: 508-530-1595