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A Christmas Miracle: GPS Saves the Life of Teenager with Autism

December 28, 2015

Missing boy found thanks to AngelSense

A post by an AngelSense representative who used the GPS tracking app to help save the life of a New York teenager.


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At 3 a.m. EST on December 11th, just when it seemed all hope was lost, an NYPD detective directed by the AngelSense team, was able to track and find a wandering 17-year-old with autism and bring him home safely after a 7 hour non-stop night ride in the New York City subway system. AngelSense was able to pinpoint the teenager’s exact location as he left the subway two minutes before his GPS device battery ran out.

The detective, who recovered the teenager, called to thank the AngelSense team and said, “We wouldn’t have been able to locate him without you.”

Most child elopement stories don’t have happy endings, but not this one. Last Thursday, Hanzel Nunez, a 17-year-old with autism who is prone to wander went missing in NYC on what happened to be his first day wearing the AngelSense GPS tracking device. Hanzel happened to be wearing a Santa’s hat on that night; AngelSense and the police were desperately trying to locate “Santa” on the trains.


Hanzel’s Elopement & Night Ride in the Manhattan Subway

Hanzel’s Elopement & Night Ride in the Manhattan Subway

Within minutes, the teenager’s mom and AngelSense Customer Care representatives traced his location to the New York City subway. Using the AngelSense app, the team tracked Hanzel using cell tower pings, since he was underground and the app could not utilize GPS technology to track him. They scoured possible train routes for hours as Hanzel traveled though three of the five boroughs of NYC. He was eventually found in Queens at 3 a.m. on December 11.


AngelSense used to save this boy's life

Lency Nunez and her autistic son Hanzel, who is holding the AngelSense GPS tracking device that police used to find him.

 Once she was reunited with her son, the mom sent us a picture of Hanzel and said “Thanks for being there [for us]. You are an angel”. The AngelSense team that anxiously followed Hanzel’s elopement for hours was touched and relieved, and as they looked at the photograph of the teen boy, it was clear this was a real Christmas Miracle!

Sadly, however, this story is the exception and not the rule. Many kids with special needs who wander don’t make it home safely. AngelSense is working to change this. Our hope is that stories like this will give special needs parents the peace of mind to know that even if their kids wander, they’re always within reach.

With the memory of Avonte Oquendo, a 14 year-old boy with autism who went missing from Queens in 2013 still fresh in many parents’ minds, such a success story has particular significance. It’s also a reminder of why initiatives like Avonte’s Law and GPS tracking devices are essential, and why every special child deserves a GPS tracking device.

AngelSense’s GPS tracking technology aims to make the world a safer place for special needs kids who wander. The hope is that we’ll be able to prevent a repeat of the Avonte tragedy, while giving parents the peace of mind that their little ones are safe. Order AngelSense today and enjoy some much-deserved peace of mind.



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