On Thursday evening August 4, 2016, just before 7:00pm Reno Police took a report of a young autistic man that was missing from Reno.
It was reported that Jessie Sullivan, 27 years old of Reno walked away from a home in the 100 block of Turtle Creek Drive and was lost. Sullivan was described as a very high functioning autistic man, wearing all black, and was on foot. Although the Sullivan is autistic, he took no medications and had no health problems. The fear from the family was that Sullivan had no cell phone and was out of his normal routine and was lost.
Reno Police began its investigation by going to locations in Powderly, where the man lives, and in Blossom where the man used to live possibly being confused. Reno Police summoned assistance from Lamar County Sheriff’s Office and Reno and Blossom Volunteer Fire Departments. The department also began alerting the public and local community by posting information and pictures on the department’s social media pages, notifying the local media, and utilizing Reno’s mass notification system.
Immediately after notifying the community, Reno Police began getting tips of Sullivan being seen walking eastbound on the Highway 82 hours earlier. At one point, police tracked confirmed tips as far east as Annona, Texas in Red River County. Reno Police had also alerted authorities there to assist in the search.
Finally, just before 10:30pm Sullivan was sighted at Walgreen’s in Paris by Lamar County Sherriff’s Deputy at the intersection of Loop 286 and Lamar Avenue and was reunited with his family.
Reno Police would like to thank everyone that paid attention after the notifications went out. Within an hour, the department’s Facebook Page had nearly 20,000 hits with nearly 100 comments of people saying they saw Sullivan at different locations. The posts also spurred the many phone tips the department received from local residents describing him walking east towards eastern Lamar and Red River County. Although Sullivan was found in Paris, police were able to confirm most of those tips as being credible.