Police say criminal charges possible in case of missing autistic Lorain boy

Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 10:23 PM EDT
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SANDUSKY, Ohio (WOIO) - A 12-year-old autistic boy is back safe with his family after being missing for almost two weeks, but there are still a lot of questions surrounding his disappearance.

19 News has learned Austin Lauer was found Thursday night at Brick Oven Bistro on Cleveland Road in Sandusky.

Lorain police said he called his mom to pick him up.

Investigators believe they know where the little boy was, and criminal charges are possible.

“I thought we were good and then you just leave but I just want you to come home so we can stop dealing with all this,” said an emotional Victoria Lauer, Austin’s sister, earlier this week.

“We’re just an emotional wreck,” his mom Sandra Lauer said in an earlier interview. “We just want him to come home.”

The nightmare finally ended for the Lorain family Thursday when 12-year-old Austin Lauer came home safely.

When 19 News interviewed his mom and sister earlier this week, they told me they believed he was staying with a former neighbor of theirs that now lived in Sandusky

“She has hit me with a broom,” Austin’s sister said of their neighbor. “You know she is not a good person.”

Lorain police said they now believe the boy was staying with that family the entire time he was missing, and they could soon be filing criminal charges against them.

Sandusky police said they searched that home multiple times during the boy’s disappearance and he never turned up.

The Sandusky police chief told us he’s working with Lorain police on the investigation.

The neighbors will remain unnamed at this time as they have not been charged.

19 News did speak with a relative of the Sandusky family off camera on Friday, who claimed he never saw the 12-year-old at the home.

19 News will continue to follow up with both police departments to get to the bottom of this case.

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