press release - 02011701

Missing Autistic Teenager Located in Santa Maria


Missing Autistic Teenager Located in Santa Maria

Missing Autistic Teenager Located Thanks to Project Lifesaver


Santa Maria- February 1st, 2017


A 19-year-old Santa Maria resident suffering from Autism is back home safely after what could have been a life-threatening experience.  At approximately 2:10 p.m. on January 28, 2017, the caretakers at his residential home discovered he was missing.  They contacted the Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch center to report the emergency.  Thanks to the fact that the missing at-risk teenager’s family had signed him up with Project Lifesaver, he was wearing a transmitter that was able to pinpoint his location.


The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SBCSAR) team and a Santa Barbara County Sheriff/Fire Air Support Unit helicopter were deployed.  SBCSAR team members used the electronic monitoring system to direct Air Support to the area where the signal was coming from.  At approximately 5:15 p.m., Air Support spotted the missing teenager swimming in a reservoir located approximately five miles from the residential home.  The unseasonably cold water was up to his neck and indications were that he had been there for some time and could have easily drowned.   Fortunately, Air Support was able to lead a Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team member and a Sheriff’s Volunteer to his location.  The Sheriff’s Volunteer knew the missing teenager from periodically changing the batteries on his Project Lifesaver bracelet.  When the teenager heard his familiar voice, he agreed to reach his hands out and was pulled over the slippery water basin to safety.


The missing teenager’s family is extremely grateful to the rescuers and to Project Lifesaver for potentially saving their child’s life. The Sheriff’s Office encourages residents who have a family member who suffers from Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Autism, or any condition where they could wander and get lost, to sign up for Project Lifesaver by going to our website at


Project Lifesaver has more than 1,600 participating agencies across the country and a 100% success rate.  The National average of finding a Project Lifesaver client is 30 minutes versus the hours and days it can take to find someone without this technology.


Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team volunteers traveled to San Luis Obispo County yesterday, January 30, 2017, to help search for 75-year-old Richard Korsgaard of San Luis Obispo.  Korsgaard suffered from Alzheimer’s and went missing from his home on January 29, 2017.   Kern County Search and Rescue crews found him deceased at approximately 10:15 a.m. this morning, February 1, 2017, at the base of a steep ravine in a rural area approximately two miles from his home.  The Sheriff’s Office wants to take this opportunity to thank the many people, including eight Search and Rescue teams, who helped look for him.  We send our deepest condolences to Richard Korsgaard’s family and friends.


For Media Inquires Contact PIO Kelly Hoover


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