Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.

Two men find teen with autism cold but safe inside backyard barn

Jeff Austin

An Indianapolis teen with autism is found cold and wet, but safe after disappearing for nearly 27 hours.

Hunter Valant was found on Old Oaklandon Boulevard North Drive just before 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. His friends and family are now celebrating, thankful he's alive.

"We are just so elated and so thankful to everybody that helped, thank you, thank you, thank you so much," said Kelly Kempton, family friend.

Hunter disappeared after stopping by a Subway Monday night. Urban rescue crews were called out three times and searched through the wind and rain using dogs but found no sign of Hunter. No sign, until two men noticed the window screens broken in their home.

"The chair was pulled over and I said, 'Someone tried to break in,' so then we started going around the house," said Steven Logan. "And then we thought to look in the barn to make sure the mower wasn't stolen."

When Steve Logan and his friend, Jeff Austin, went to investigate, they found Hunter huddled inside that barn.

"If I hadn't seen the news report, I think he was maybe squatting or something," said Logan.

He'd taken blankets, pillows, and all sorts of food from their home. The Prader-Willi syndrome Hunter has leads him to seek food out.

"Two pizzas, several muscle milks, peanut butter and jelly, potato salad," said Logan.

The 19-year-old was shaken but not hurt.

"He seemed fine just a little bit startled I think. He seemed pretty cold too, he was all hunched up had a bunch of blankets around him," said Austin.

His family is so glad to have him back home.

"We jumped for joy and then said a prayer of thanks," said Sherry Minks, Hunter's stepmother.

Two men are now being called heroes.

"I'm glad he's okay, he could have broken into anybody's house and anything could have happened," said Austin. "I'm glad we found him and he was okay.

Hunter was taken to an area hospital as a precaution. This also isn't the first time Hunter has disappeared. Back in 2009, he went missing but was found six hours later.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
Jeff Austin