It is difficult for me to write about this incident, because I feel guilty for this incident. It happened in mid-January, but only now I decided to tell about it.
It was Saturday, my husband returned from a trip at night and I decided to let him sleep off and take my son to college in my car. Alice (she is 7 years old and has autism, I wrote about this here), of course, we took with us. Upon returning home, I took my daughter into the apartment, and I went out into the entrance to ask a neighbor if her son would be very upset if we removed the tree (every year we put a tree in the common corridor for all neighbors). Word for word, but did not chat for a long time, since Alice was dressed and after 3 minutes she returned home, and the child was gone. At first, I thought that she went to look for me, called the elevator (we live on the 16th floor) and left for the first floor. I was sure that she would not be able to leave the entrance, since the door opens quite hard and before, when I asked her to open the doors, she could not cope with it. She called the elevator and dashed down. She was not on the first floor. The next thought that occurred to me was that she came out on some other floor and now stands somewhere on the landing near the apartment, similar in location to ours, and therefore ran across the floors. Already on the stairs, I called 112 and said that my child was missing.
She got through quickly, they questioned me clearly, immediately reassured me, said that they turned up quickly (about 5-6 minutes passed) and the child would be found. While I ran 16 floors, the police already called me, I again described the situation in what my daughter was wearing and where I had already managed to check her absence. Having reached our floor, I ran into the apartment again, hoping very much that she simply hid somewhere and I did not see her. Hopes were not justified, Alice was not at home. She woke up her husband shouting: “Get up, Alice is gone!” Then he said that it was the most shocking awakening in his life. The husband jumped into the car and drove along the road, looking for his daughter. I went in search on foot. I ran around the yard – it’s empty. I returned to the entrance. She asked a neighbor who smoked on the balcony if she had seen a girl in a pink down jacket, and she said that she had seen and indicated the direction, where she went. I darted in that direction, on the way I asked passers-by, who else could have seen her. I was lucky the vegetable salesman said he saw her on the other side of the road. On this route, we usually went to 2 places:
1. Shopping center “Red Square”
2. Shopping center “Perekrestok”.
My husband went on the first route, I ran on the second. She was not at the Crossroads, and I went out to go to Red Square, but then the police called me and said that they had found her.
Alice went to the play area in Red Square. She walked very clearly along the route that we used to take with her. She successfully crossed the road along the pedestrian crossing (we are still scared to imagine how she did it), reached the shopping center and entered the KFC fast food cafe (there is a through passage through the shopping center). Since the shopping center itself is open from 10.00, and the time was about 9, the passage was closed. Alice began to approach the visitors of the cafe and ask them to open the door so that she could enter the play area on the second floor. She was spotted by a guard and called the police, where there was already information about her. Half an hour passed from the moment of its disappearance to its discovery.
Those were the worst 30 minutes of my life. A feeling of helplessness, terrible pictures that come into my head, a wild fear that something might happen to her. When we saw her at KFC, we were incredibly relieved that she was okay. Alice, seeing me did not show any particular emotions, she led me to the door of the shopping center and asked her to open it, which, of course, I could not do. The husband came up and took the child upset by the failed trip, and I was left to fill out the documents with the police.
Honestly, I thought that now we would be registered as a dysfunctional family, but, apparently, we are not so much like those who offend children and have not registered us. A couple of months later, a letter came, where it was indicated that in this case, the initiation of a criminal case was refused due to the lack of corpus delicti. In general, the police worked perfectly, I was almost all the time in touch with the girl who was in charge of the search, police cars drove around our area (I counted 4 pieces), when we ran to the cafe, there were 6 police officers near Alice. My many thanks to them for their work, for not only finding a daughter, but also for moral support.
When emotions subsided, I realized that my child is smarter than I think about her. She perfectly opened the door from the entrance (I later checked, she really can open it if she wants to), crossed the road along the pedestrian crossing, realized that since she herself could not open the necessary door, then she needed to ask about it (that is, if she felt like it , then she may well build communication with a stranger), and she was not frightened at all, went where she wanted, having covered a kilometer-long path.
Not the most pleasant story in our life, which made us look at our daughter differently, draw conclusions and pay more attention to the issue of safety. I hope that such emotions will not have to be experienced again and I do not want to face such a situation, no matter whether the child has developmental features or not. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.