Autistic teen arrested on Thanksgiving released from juvenile detention home

ELYRIA, OH (WOIO) - An autistic teenager, arrested over the Thanksgiving holiday and charges with two felonies, has now been released.

Lisa Berner says her 14-year-old son, Ehren was threatening to hurt himself with a knife. He ran off. That's when Berner called police.

According to the North Ridgeville officers, he turned violent and ended up at the Lorain County Juvenile Detention Home.

"He kept apologizing," said Berner. "He did say, 'I'm so sorry for kicking the officer, I'm so sorry for spitting on the officer'. He knows the actions that he did, but he doesn't understand the law."

On Wednesday, Berner was there to see her son as he was escorted from the detention center into a waiting van, which would transport him five hours away, to a facility in South Ohio.

She says her son needs help, but she doesn't think he should be behind bars.

"He was in jail. That is what this place is, and that is definitely not the place he needed to be," she said.

Berner says she's grateful for the care her son was given at the detention home, showing pictures he drew while in custody. She says her son has the mental functioning ability of a six-year-old and simply cannot understand the consequences of his actions.

"It does make me happy that he was in a good place in his mind while he was at the detention center, because this is the Ehren I know, the very pretty pictures of the things that interest him," she said.

Berner says, though, that she wants to bring attention to another problem, the lack of resources available to families like hers and children like Ehren, who need special help. She said the South Ohio facility, where her son will spend thirty days, is not adequately equipped to provide that care. It's also five hours away, too far for her to be involved daily in her son's treatment. She hopes to see him transferred to another facility with more programs, closer to her home in North Ridgeville.

She also wants to see a broader change, along with understanding for the special problems her family faces.

"Putting a blue light bulb outside in your porch in April is not autism awareness," she said. What i just went through, basically the past year and more importantly this past week, that is autism awareness, and that is what attention needs to be brought to."

The criminal charges against Ehren have not yet been dropped, but family attorneys are hopeful they will be soon. An arraignment has not been scheduled.

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