Missing autistic teen found safe in Kearny Mesa

Posted at 9:47 PM, Dec 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 02:42:32-05

A missing autistic teenager from University City was found safe several miles from his home Wednesday night. Demetrius Vitalich was found more than 10 hours after he was reported missing, in Kearny Mesa, near Othello avenue around 8:30 p.m.

The 17-year-old was reported missing Wednesday morning after leaving home to go jogging. 

"We're really grateful," said the teens grandfather, Nick Vitalich. "Some wonderful people, hadn't even heard the report and saw him wandering around and knew he was in trouble."

The owners of Bumper 2 Bumper auto repair in Kearny Mesa said they gave Demetrius a t-shirt and he gave them his home phone number in return. That's when his Grandpa went to pick him up.

After the teen went missing, San Diego Police had set up a search grid several miles in all directions; using their helicopter and volunteers from Southwest Search Dogs.

Before he was found, the teen's grandmother, Carolyn, was worried that he may have run away because he'd overheard talk about moving him into a group home.    

His grandmother told 10News that waiting for her grandon to be found - was the longest day of her life. 

10News reporter Steve Fiorina is piecing the full interview together now, for 10News at 11.