The teen Jahon Fuller has been found after he disappeared from their residence in Douglasville, GA.
His mother, Lashawnda Collins revealed how FBI investigators found her son hiding in a closet of a residence in Eastchester, New York this past Tuesday after he was lured into an online predator’s home.
“Oh my God I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘In New York?’” said Collins.
Detectives were able to track him down with an Instagram message he sent his brother after he went missing. His parents say the 16-year-old has autism and the mental capacity of a 10-year-old. On October 27, the teen left the house. That is when his parents were worried he had been lured away by someone he met online while playing video games on his PlayStation.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Capt. Trent Wilson confirmed that is exactly what happened.
“Through the investigation, we found out he met someone on the game system,” said Wilson, “and that person came from New York to get him and take him back to New York with him.”
Investigators with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office say that Mark Valente, 26, is awaiting extradition to Georgia to face charges in connection with Jahon’s disappearance.
Collins says the suspect somehow managed to develop an online relationship with her son despite her monitoring Jahon’s online activity. She encouraged other parents to heed her advice.
Thankfully, detectives were able to track down Fuller after his brother received strange Instagram messages from him a day after the autistic teen went missing.
One text message supposedly written by Fuller said, “I’m heading west to get a easier job since the south has higher poverty rates I saved up cash secretly tell mom and dad I’m fine.” But his mother insisted Jahon has never had a job.
His family also shared a handwritten note supposedly left by Jahon that read: “I’m going west to improve my own life by finding work. Goodbye. I love you.”
After Jahon went missing, Collins said she searched his PlayStation but all Jahon’s online messaging had been deleted.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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