Police Body Cam Captures Emotional Phone Call Notifying Mother Her Autistic Teen Son Was Found Alive After Missing for 3 Years


Police body cameras have been a valuable tool for transparency in the criminal justice system, but a Utah police department captured the emotional moment a mother was told her autistic teenage son had been found alive after being missing for three years.

CNN Newsroom host Fredricka Whitfield introduced the story, reporting that Connerjack Oswalt had gone missing from Clearlake, California in September 2019. Earlier this month, Summit County, Utah police responded to calls saying that a young man was sleeping outside a gas station and had been seen wandering the area in the Park City suburbs with a shopping cart for several weeks.

Oswalt had “either refused or just couldn’t give his name,” said Whitfield, and the police officers eventually figured out his identity by searching a database of missing people. “What a story.”

CNN national correspondent Camila Bernal agreed it was “really a remarkable story,” adding that the Summit County Sheriff’s Office had described it as “serving with compassion.” Oswalt was now 19, she said, and the police had had several interactions with him. The young man initially refused their help and was not breaking any laws, so they let him be, but offered again when they spoke to him last Saturday.

“You look like you’re shivering,” the body cams captured the officers saying to Oswalt as they approached. “You cold? You want to come sit in his car and warm up for a minute? We can’t have you sitting in front of the door here all night.”

On the video, Oswalt told the officers he doesn’t want to be taken anywhere but did agree to sit in the car and warm up. They offered to let him sit in the front passenger seat, and asked about his grocery cart. He replied that it had been stolen.

An emergency dispatcher went through “pages and pages of missing children” and was able to find Oswalt’s photo, said Bernal. The officers called Oswalt’s mother and she described a “very distinctive birthmark on his neck,” and they found that mark on his neck.

Oswalt’s stepfather traveled to Utah to identify him in person and called his mother to let her know her son was alive, Bernal continued, and that “really moving moment” was caught on the body cam of one of the officers in the room at the time.

“Is it him?” Oswalt’s mother’s voice could be heard through the phone’s speaker.

“A little bit older, but yeah,” his stepfather responded.

“My sweetheart’s alive,” the mother replied, her voice breaking through her tears. “Oh my God.”

“The sheriff said there was not a dry eye in that room,” Bernal concluded, saying that Oswalt was “receiving care and resources and is expected to reunite” with his mother soon in Idaho, where she and Oswalt’s stepfather had moved after the teenager went missing.

“There’s not a dry eye in this studio,” said Whitfield. “That’s amazing.”

Have a tip we should know? tips@mediaite.com

Filed Under: