Hamilton Co. offers Project Lifesaver to keep autistic children safe

By: Noelani Mathews
March 20, 2017

HAMILTON COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) -- One second, kids are playing in the park, and the next second, they're gone.

It's a nightmare for any family, especially if their child is autistic.

“We do worry about the fact that they could wander off,” says Sheremah Dejesus, with two autistic nephews.

It could happen anywhere, even in Hamilton County.

The child could leave without a trace or a way home.

“We have rivers, ponds, and lakes, so it’s a concern,” says Sheriff Harrell Reid.

It’s a scary thought, with no solution, until now.

The new tracking software is called Project Lifesaver.

It comes three years after an autistic child wandered from his home in Live Oak.

Nine-year-old Leo Walker was found dead just days later.

“I really feel like that was a huge wake up call for all of us,” says Dejesus.

She’s happy to see the new option, but still has her doubts.

“I feel like they would try to remove the bracelets themselves,” Dejesus adds.

This week, the Sheriff’s Office says they will hand out the first ten trackers to local families.

“This will be a blessing for our people,” says Sheriff Reid.

He says the County is looking to buy more tracking devices in the future.

It will help with persons with special needs, and seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

For more information on Project Lifesaver, visit www.projectlifesaver.org.