Boy with autism left on Redlands school bus 2 days in a rowFriday, October 11, 2013Boy left on Redlands school bus 2 days in row
REDLANDS, Calif. (KABC) -- There are a lot of unanswered questions in Redlands about a child with autism who got on his school bus but never made it to school two days in a row.
Ray Sensenig says every school day his 4-year-old son Caden, who is autistic and nonverbal, is put on the school bus just before 8 a.m., bound for Lugonia Elementary School. He normally returns home on the bus around 11 a.m., but on Thursday, the bus and Caden didn't return.
When the family called the district's bus dispatch, a terrifying story started to unfold as no one could initially account for the 4-year-old.
"I got a call from dispatch finally telling me that he was on the bus. Just a few minutes before, they told me he wasn't on the bus," said Sensenig.
When they called the school, they learned Caden hadn't been in class that day or the day before despite leaving and returning on the bus.
"It's upsetting. None of us can sleep. How can we sleep when we know that we put him on the bus and he wasn't at school? That's where we thought he was," said Marisa Meads, the boy's aunt.
The Redlands Unified School District says it believes Caden was left on the bus after its scheduled drop-off.
"Upon receiving the report the district immediately placed the bus driver in question on administrative leave," the district said in a statement.
The district says it has been working with the parents and authorities throughout the investigation.
"In my eyes, I see it as there's some kind of miscommunication between somebody that was supposed to pick him at the school to the driver that actually was dropping him off and picking him up," said Sensenig.
But with Caden unable to tell them what happened, they fear there may be more to the story.
"Two days seems like more than a mistake. And it worries me. And the fact that he can't tell us, you know, that he's vulnerable," said Meads.
Redlands police are now investigating. The family says they are getting little information from the school and are demanding answers.
"I would like an account for where the bus was, I want an account for where the bus driver was, and I want an account for where Caden was," said Meads.
Caden's parents kept him home from school on Friday and say they don't know if he'll return, given all the unanswered questions surrounding his mysterious disappearance.
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