Missing Fort Worth Teenager Found

By Ellen Goldberg
|  Saturday, Sep 24, 2011  |  Updated 3:07 PM CDT
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Mother Worried for Missing 16-Year-Old Son

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Mother Worried for Missing 16-Year-Old Son

The mother of a 16-year-old who disappeared Thursday night says police did not take her son's disappearance seriously at first. The teenager was later found on Friday and is in stable condition at a hospital.
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A teenager who was missing for more than 24 hours was found Friday night and was taken to a hospital.

Ronny Howard, 16, disappeared Thursday at about 7 p.m. near the 800 block of Cross Timbers when he left for a walk.

"He was happy yesterday morning," said Jonah Howard, Ronny's mother, during the search. "He was talking about how, since he moved here from California, how safe he felt here."

Police said he is in stable condition at a Fort Worth hospital and is expected to recover.

Ronny Howard, who moved to Fort Worth three months ago, has a mild form of autism. His mother said he has never disappeared before.

"When it happens to your own child, you can't even describe the emotions you are dealing with, trying to hope he's OK and going to come home but knowing there's some really wicked people in the world," she said.

Police said someone driving on a highway in Lake Worth saw the 16-year-old lying facedown and called police.

Investigators said they do not know how Ronny Howard ended up there but said it's possible he got tired or disoriented during his walk.

Police said the boy's family was ecstatic that was located and was safe.

Jonah Howard called her son's cell phone repeatedly Thursday night. She said a strange voice answered, which convinced that her son didn't run away.

"They said, 'F you, B-word,' to me and some other foul language and then hung up," she said.

Howard said Fort Worth police were hesitant to search for her son on Thursday night.

"I just think they didn't take me seriously when they should have," she said.

On Friday, bloodhounds and professional search teams canvassed the family's west Fort Worth neighborhood. Volunteers also pitched in, fanning out across the wooded areas and creek beds.

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