CLEVELAND – The search for a missing man with autism had a happy ending in Cleveland, hundreds of miles from his home in New Jersey.
Michael Karwan, 19, was reunited with his family at Hopkins International Airport on Wednesday morning. The Marlboro, New Jersey resident was reported missing last Tuesday and was the focus of a widespread search near his hometown.
His father, Walter Karwan, recently made an emotional plea for his son’s safe return on WPIX-TV in New York.
“I just wanna say, Michael, I love you. See this, we are waiting for you at home. We love you very much. There are so many people looking for you, so many friends and family. All we wanna do is hold you,” said Karwan.
Authorities say Karwan, described as a high-functioning person with autism, wandered from his home and was spotted near Times Square and in other areas. But on Tuesday night, Cleveland police found Karwan at the Volunteers of America shelter on Walton Avenue.
The police said Karwan came to the city by bus and first visited a shelter on Lakeside Avenue. On Saturday, he was moved to the Volunteers of America facility where he remained for a few days. According to investigators, someone realized that he was missing after seeing a post on Facebook.
"We feel very fortunate that we were able to play a part in the reunion with his family. I have a 19-year-old myself, so I can relate, certainly,” said Dennis Kresak, President and CEO for Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio.
His family was growing more concerned as the days passed because Karwan was without his medication.
A family spokesperson said the reunion gives them more to give thanks for this Thanksgiving holiday.
Michael and his family returned to New Jersey on a flight from Hopkins on Wednesday afternoon.