UPDATE: The Home News Tribune is reporting that the girl found floating unconsicous in a swimming pool Tuesday afternoon has died. NBPD spokesman JT Miller did not return three calls from NewBrunswickToday.com seeking an update on her condition.
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Several New Brunswick police and fire units scoured a Fifth Ward neighborhood, in search of an autistic 7-year-old girl who had been reported missing at approximately 5:55pm yesterday.
At that point, the child had been missing for 10-15 minutes according to the mother, who called New Brunswick police.
About an hour later, the girl was found unconscious at the bottom of a swimming pool just 300 feet away from where she disappeared.
The original call said that the autistic girl had light black skin and was wearing a pink dress with black tights. She had gone missing from a home at 23 Oak Street, located between Somerset Street and Brookside Avenue.
According to police transmissions, an update came in about a half-hour into the search, alerting all units that the missing child was a “lower-functioning autistic” whose obsessions included parks water, bikes, and swingsets.
“Usually, they will go towards their obsessions… You also got music and ice cream trucks,” an unidentified officer said over the police radio.
Shortly thereafter, police were told not to conduct any traffic stops and make themselves available for the search. The New Brunswick Fire Department began to send units to help with the search shortly after 6pm.
Further transmissions stated that the girl did not normally respond to her name, making it more difficult to locate her.
At about 6:47pm, an unidentified member of the search team reported they had found the missing girl in a pool located behind 38 Laurel Place. According to satellite imagery, it appears to be the only pool in the neighborhood.
“Send EMS. Laurel–Laurel Place,” a remarkably calm voice said over the radio.
“What number on Laurel?” the dispatcher asked urgently in response.
“42… In the water, back here behind 42!”
Police rushed to the pool, which was actually located behind 38 Laurel Place.
Within five minutes, the girl was in an ambulance, presumably headed to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, less than a mile down Somerset Street.
There was no update on the girl’s condition reported over the police radio. Middlesex County’s Prosecutor and the Major Crimes Unit of the NBPD were both notified of the situation, according to the transmissions.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.