- A California teen who went missing in 2019 was found outside a Utah gas station last week.
- Connerjack Oswalt was last seen in Willows, California, more than 700 miles from where he was found.
- “We’re just grateful that he’s safe and he’s alive and we have our son back,” his mother said.
A teen who went missing in 2016 was found outside of a Utah gas station nearly three years after he disappeared from his California home, authorities announcedthis week.
Connerjack Oswalt was last seen in Willows, California, roughly 85 miles north of Sacramento. He was reported missing by the Clearlake Police department in late September 2019 when he was 16 years old.
According to a statement by the Summit County Sheriff’s office in Utah, deputies had approached a young man over a course of a “couple weeks,” responding to community calls about a “homeless person wandering around the Kimball Junction area, pushing a shopping cart.”
“Deputies responded each time and offered services to the young man, who was NOT violating any laws – he refused any help,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement posted to Facebook.
On April 9, law enforcement received a call about the young man sleeping outside of Jeremy’s Store, a convenience store located in Park City, Utah, about 32.5 miles away from Salt Lake City.
“Through past interactions and the Saturday interaction, it was clear to deputies that the man communicated differently,” the Summit County Sheriff’s office said of Oswalt, who has autism.
The department worked to identify Oswalt through a finger scan since he wouldn’t tell deputies his name, Sheriff Justin Martinez told local news station WTVT, and later found an arrest warrant out of Nevada for Connerjack Oswald, with his last name spelled wrong.
“The deputies again felt there’s more to this story, there’s something more this individual’s being resistant, reluctant to communicate,” Martinez said, adding that they then began going through the the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database.
“After about 16 pages of scouring through names and photographs and trying to find something that might match up, we came up with the name, Connerjack Oswalt,” Martinez said. Police then contacted authorities in Clearlake as well as Oswalt’s mother Suzanne Flint, who confirmed that her son was still missing.
A representative from the Clearlake Police Department didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. An email address appearing to belong to Oswalt’s mother did not immediately respond to comment.
In a statement to WTVT, the Clearlake Police Department said: “It was great news for us at the Clearlake Police Department to hear Conner was located safe by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. We hope Conner’s family can get some much-needed relief knowing he is okay.”
Oswalt’s stepfather Gerald Flint said he was “still dumbstruck” by the situation and that finding Oswalt, who is now 19, alive was “incredible.”
“We’ve had a lot of false hope over the last two and a half years,” Gerald Flint told WTVT.
“We’re just grateful that he’s safe and he’s alive and we have our son back,” Suzanne Flint added. “That’s the most important thing ever for us.”