Scheduling mix-up sparks missing person search

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, August 31, 2016

By Amanda Raymond

FRANKLIN — A man was found Wednesday evening after some confusion between his parents and a caseworker.

Authorities responded to a report that Reuben Sabaratnam, a 24-year-old autistic man, was missing from his parents’ home at the 100 block of Ponderosa Drive. He had been missing since 3:15 that afternoon.

Chief Eddie Cress of Rowan County Rescue said emergency personnel were conducting an air and ground search stemming outward from the residence.

Sabaratnam was described as “very friendly” and has the mental capacity of an 8-year-old.

At around 7:45 p.m., Sabaratnam’s parents received a call that he was out with a caseworker from Easter Seals, an organization that provides services to children and adults with disabilities and their parents.

Cress said it seemed like there were arrangements made to take Sabaratnam out for socialization practice, but the parents either did not remember or realize that the caseworker was coming by that day.

Easter Seals said that the outing was scheduled for that day, according to Cress.

Cress called off the search and said he was waiting to hear from the caseworker to make sure Sabaratnam was returned to his home safely.

The Franklin Fire Department, Rowan County Emergency Services, Rowan County Sheriff’s Department, Ellis Cross Country Fire Department, Rowan County Rescue, Woodleaf Fire Department, State Highway Patrol and Locke Fire Department were all at the scene.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.