Missing Autistic Teen Found Safe in Texas

Natalie Woollerton will be reunited with her family.

The Ocean City Police Department announced Monday morning that Natalie Woollerton has been found safe and healthy in Mesquite, Texas.

Woollerton was found by a Texas police officer who was investigating a suspicious vehicle and was able to identify it as the one taken by Woollerton when she left Ocean City on Nov. 28. She was found at 3:30 a.m. Monday.

Woollerton, 16, is autistic and had left her mother's residence on the 1500 block of Central Avenue in the early morning hours of last Wednesday in her mother's light-blue Lexus. The teen had no driving experience.

Police said in a news release that details of Woollerton's whereabouts in the five days she was missing are still being developed. 

"The most important concern at this time is to reunite Natalie with her family," Capt. Steven Ang said in the release.

yerkillinme December 04, 2012 at 11:24 PM
OC. it's interesting that you say "she's our kid". God bless ya for feeling that way. Those of us w/ kids on the Spectrum and the people that work with them often refer to kids w/ autism as "our kids". That's why we get involved when one of "our kids" goes missing even though we live hundreds of miles away (the story was all over the online autism community). So, I'm glad you got "your" kid back but I'm a little ticked at getting sucked in to it w/ the autism angle when it doesn't sound like she has it at all (a kid w/ true autism just can't and doesn't do what she did). Next time when there's a kid w/ real autism people may just say "bah, just another runaway kid story" and the resources may not flow as quickly and readily as they should for a kid who may really be incapable of fending for themselves, which obviously this kid was capable of doing.
OC Raiders December 04, 2012 at 11:39 PM
I'm sorry you feel that way. But I don't think Natalie Woollerton faked her autism and I don't think her family added it as a publicity stunt. But things will come out as time goes by.
David Powell December 05, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Agreed, good on our PD and the Lawman in Texas!
Concerned citizen December 05, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Keep Politics out of this! Would you enjoy this statement? "The people that want proof of a childs autism, are the same kind of people that want to see the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction." It's the same garbage, different political push.
Eleanor December 05, 2012 at 06:32 PM
I think everyone is glad that Natalie was found alive and safe. Nothing is scarier than when a child disappears without a trace. Something interesting is how this situation prompts a lot of discussion about what is and is not autism. Many years ago there was a documentary filmmaker who brought his film to OC for screening because it was about one of the areas most well known personalities. The movie had 'Underdog' in the title and the film makers name was 'Boris'. You can probably find it on a movie database. Anyway, this person who was always considered 'eccentric' was diagnosed during the making of the film to have Aspergers. I went to a showing at the Music Pier and they talked a little bit about it after the movie.


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