CASPER, Wyo. – The Natrona County Sheriff’s Office held a short press conference regarding the ongoing search for a 16-year-old autistic boy who went missing on Sunday.
Joseph Peterson left between 11 a.m. and noon yesterday wearing only his pajamas. “Joseph was not dressed for the weather,” said Sgt. Sean Ellis during the press conference held on Monday morning.
“He’s been gone almost 23 hours,” he said. “There’s no foul play associated.”
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His home is near Goose Creek and Hat Six Road in southeastern Natrona County, said Ellis.
“He has no communication devices,” he said.
Joseph is autistic who functions at a higher level, but is not self-sufficient and does not problem-solve at an age-appropriate level,” said Ellis. “Joseph has no concept of action vs. consequences.”
Sunday started off mild with a high near 60 degrees, but temperatures dropped rapidly as the afternoon progressed. Nearly three inches of snow fell overnight, and temperatures dipped below zero degrees according to the National Weather Service.
Ellis said starting at noon yesterday a task force made up of ten agencies from city, county, state and federal emergency services have been searching for Joseph. K-9 teams, air assets, certified human trackers and search and rescue technicians are on site.
Ellis said the sheriff’s office is not looking for volunteers to assist with the search, and is asking people to stay clear of the search area.
“The family is very emotional and trying to do everything in their power. The community in that area is rural but everyone knows everybody. They helped us through the night, they’re doing the best they can,” said Ellis.
Donations for search teams can be made to Station 13 on Wildcat Road, specifically water and high-calorie, easy to carry food.
This story was updated with newly submitted photos of Joey Peterson at 11:50 am, November 14, 2019.