Homeless Folks Find Lost Boy

Readers — A 6-year-old boy with autism had disappeared from his San Jose, CA home at 9 .a.m. Turns out, he had wandered off and was atiifibits
found in the middle of the night by a group of homeless men and women
who live in an encampment nearby.

Does this remind anyone else of the Guinevere and the Fire song posted here last week? The one in which a girl, heeding her mom’s advice, avoids seeking help from the Aboriginal encampment near her home and runs to a white family much further away — and in the meantime, her mom dies?

What a much happier story this one was! While my guess is that if San Jose residents knew they were living near a camp of homeless folks, many might not have been thrilled about its proximity to their homes and children, and yet —

SAN JOSE — Jose Salmeron woke early in the homeless encampment he often stays at and intended to take a makeshift shower when he heard a strange rustling noise.

“I popped out of my tent and I saw a naked person. At first I thought it was an alien, like ET,” said Salmeron, who said he did a double-take and grabbed his flashlight. “I shined my flashlight at him and when I looked closer it was a little boy.” He hollered to his fellow camp mates, ‘Come out, there is a naked boy out here.'”

The boy was 6-year-old Sergio Zepeda, who went missing Saturday morning and was the subject of a frantic overnight search until he wandered into the encampment, startling the residents. Soon after, around 4:15 a.m. Sunday morning, another resident of the encampment called 911 and gave what turned out to be good news to the dispatcher.

The other good news is just a reminder that we’re all in this together, whether we have homes or not, whether we have served time or not. – L.

Reach out to neighbors.

Howdy, neighbors!

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29 Responses to Homeless Folks Find Lost Boy

  1. Kimberly Herbert September 8, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Reminds me of an incident in my sister’s neighborhood. A young pre-teen with cognitive delay was on a walk with her family. She went around a corner, and when the adults “caught up” she was gone. The area was searched the child was not found.

    About a week later some street kids, kids who were thrown out or ran away from abuse, walked into a substation with the pre-teen. They had found her, kept her away from predators, until they could talk her into going to the substation. (Seems her family had done the if you are bad the cops will take you away thing making the child fearful of going to them for help.)

    Because of this incident, the family got on social services radar and they are getting more help in dealing with the child’s disabilities. (They had been homeschooling her because they were angry when the school first approached them about testing her in elementary school)

  2. Nicole 2 September 8, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    This is why I get in arguments about trusting “random dude the kid might find”. The likelihood the kid finds the deranged psychopath who is apparently just waiting for a kid to ask for help is essentially nonexistent. I’m much more afraid of the kid hiding from adults and ending up in an even more dangerous situation.

    Also, very glad this kid was found. Too many of the “missing autistic kid” cases end in drownings 🙁 . As the sister of an autistic kid who, when he was little, would wander, it is so heartbreaking to hear those stories.

  3. C. S. P. Schofield September 8, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    I hope the parents are moved to help the homeless folk; that’s what should happen if this were a story.

  4. MichaelF September 8, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    Sadly this won’t get as much press as the story would if it went a totally different way.

  5. deltaflute September 8, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    The homeless are awesome! I know they get bad raps for drug use issues and pan handling, but on the whole, most are legitimately trying to establish themselves.

    I used to take my kids to several parks where the homeless would take shelter. They would keep an eye out too. They were often pointing out when a shoe went missing and whatnot. I was never worried about them snatching my kids or anything like that. So it doesn’t surprise me at all that they found the little boy and were able to get him back to his family.

  6. Linda September 8, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    I love the happy stories! We’re all in this together.

    And sadly, what MichaelF said.

  7. John September 8, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    Quote: “’I popped out of my tent and I saw a naked person. At first I thought it was an alien, like ET,” said Salmeron, who said he did a double-take and grabbed his flashlight. “I shined my flashlight at him and when I looked closer it was a little boy.” He hollered to his fellow camp mates, ‘Come out, there is a naked boy out here.’’”

    This is a very beautiful story and more proof that 99.9% of all strangers actually want to HELP kids and have no intention of hurting them. BUT I’m surprised the pedophile patrol we have here in the United States didn’t find some way to arrest the homeless people for shining their flashlight on and looking at a naked child. After all now, they’re homeless people and we all know that homeless people are creepy and many of them could be sex offenders and shining their flashlight on a naked kid’s body is definite proof that they had nefarious intentions. (Yes I’m being very sarcastic here)

    Wendy Murphy, sex crimes prosecuter and witch hunt organizer, must be going absolutely nuts from this story of a naked 6-year-old boy coming across a bunch of homeless people!

  8. Laura September 8, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    This happened near me and it’s been all over the news here. People at work were even talking about. At least they’re getting the attention they deserves locally.

  9. Ann Washburn September 8, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

    so, you tell your kids “hey, it is perfectly safe to walk by that homeless camp, don’t worry”. I hope you never have to deal with things that do frequently happen near homeless camps. not all homeless are the sweet angels that you seem to think they are. so, are you in a 1970 time warp, lady? thinking it’s all safe and free love and no worries? move to reality, I would rather over worry and keep myself and my kids ALIVE than encourage them to love the homeless.

    this said by a woman who had a friend MURDERED by one of your homeless “angels”, so do NOT tell me I don’t know what I am talking about.

    for all the other hippies who seem to love this blogger, don’t worry, I won’t be coming back, I stumbled upon this site through a link from elsewhere, and it DISGUSTS me.

  10. Claudia September 8, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    LOLing at Anne… another one who assumes the site is advocating letting kids hitch skateboard rides on the back of cars and leaving 2 year olds alone at home to save on daycare.

  11. Buffy September 8, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    Really Ann? It DISGUSTS you to raise your kids to be competent adults, allowing them to participate in age-appropriate activities and tasks, and not making them fearful and anxious about the world around them?

    Well, if we’re going to be blunt, you disgust me.

  12. pentamom September 8, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

    Yes, Ann, that was totally the point of the post. Lenore was recommending that everyone send their kids wandering naked around encampments of homeless people, just for laffs.

  13. Joanna September 8, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    I’m the girlfriend of that homeless man that found this little boy and I have children, I trust that homeless man with my life and my children’s life. The problem is the parents weren’t paying attention to their child and didn’t secure their home even after knowing their child has taken off in the past. Especially that he has autism, they should’ve been on him at all times. They are blessed that a man like Jose found him and not a wild animal or a crazy person. He did a good thing by calling the police. Most homeless people do not want attention drawn to them in fear of losing their spot.

  14. Gina September 8, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

    I am a little put off by the use of the term “The Homeless” as though all people without homes are the same.

    Most people are kind. That’s the point. We ARE all in this together.

    ANN: Replace the word “homeless” with “Black” or “Jew” or any other label…because people of all types have committed heinous crimes and killed other people. Do you advocate never speaking to anyone ever because somebody like them once killed a person?

  15. J.T. Wenting September 8, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

    “I hope the parents are moved to help the homeless folk; that’s what should happen if this were a story.”

    More likely the “community” will start a campaign to have that “illegal camp of criminals” cleared away.

    ” So it doesn’t surprise me at all that they found the little boy and were able to get him back to his family.”

    true. They know what it is like to be lost and outside “society”. Most will do what they can to ensure others don’t end up like them.
    Of course there are bound to be some trying to make money of situations like this, but for the majority of even those it’d be no more than asking if there’s a reward for finding the boy when calling 911.

    “Wendy Murphy, sex crimes prosecuter and witch hunt organizer, must be going absolutely nuts from this story of a naked 6-year-old boy coming across a bunch of homeless people!”

    And no doubt they’ll have the boy “examined” under hypnosis to make sure he has suppressed memories of sexual abuse…

    Every group, community, society, needs a boogyman to blame for everything bad.
    And the closer that boogyman is to them, the better.
    Grew up in a cluster of houses in the woods. Next door lived an old lady. Rickety shack of a house, ragtag clothes, bit weird manners (she fed dozens, maybe hundreds, of feral cats, never cleared away a spiderweb, wore a lot of black).
    While never openly stated, the way she was portrayed was that she was the wicked witch from Hansel and Grettel, waiting to trap kids in her oven and eat them…
    We were told to never talk to her, avoid her at all times.
    Years later my mother got to know her well and that all changed. She was just a very lonely old woman, a bit eccentric that’s all.

  16. Joanna September 9, 2014 at 12:14 am #

    This is some ridiculous nonsense. Why? Because he is homeless? Why couldn’t he just be a man with a good heart that found this poor little boy with autism and called the police to return this lost little boy to his family. If someone did something to the child they wouldn’t call the police and return the child!!!! How fkn stupid would have to be, so disgusting, corrupt minds to even let that thought come into mind!!!

    A good person with a big heart found this little boy and called the police to reunite the child with his family, period!

  17. Jenny Islander September 9, 2014 at 1:09 am #

    Unless you have more money in the bank than you could spend in a year, “the homeless” are you, minus your job. People who treat not having enough money to pay for shelter as some kind of sign of moral degeneracy are way, way off the mark.

  18. Reziac September 9, 2014 at 1:09 am #

    Joanna, please thank Jose from all we folks who know you’re right.

  19. Virginia September 9, 2014 at 1:22 am #

    Joanna, thanks for posting here and thanks to you and Jose and the other people who helped Sergio get home safely. Please don’t be too hard on Sergio’s family. It’s unfortunately pretty common for kids with autism to wander off and get lost, even when their parents are very attentive.

    Again, please convey my very deep gratitude to Jose and his community.

  20. Bob Davis September 9, 2014 at 2:42 am #

    Lumping “The Homeless” into one indistinguishable mass is lazy thinking. Many years ago, a self-styled “King of the Hobos” differentiated the vagabonds he knew thusly: “A hobo will work, a Tramp won’t work and a Bum can’t work.” In his classification, hobos are willing to work, they just don’t like regular hours and set routines. Tramps will panhandle and engage in petty theft–work is an alien concept. Bums are so wasted on booze or drugs that they can’t concentrate on a task. And ever since most of the “State Hospitals” were closed, we have “nut cases” and “wack jobs” roving about or hanging out in the various versions of Skid Row.

  21. Eliza September 9, 2014 at 3:14 am #

    Alternative headline: People Who Are A Bit Different Found To Be Not Actually Bad

  22. Joanna September 9, 2014 at 4:56 am #

    Tonight I spent a few hours, just spending time with my boyfriend Jose, I read some of the comments to him and his response was “automatically people start to judge, criticize a person for doing the right thing, because we have no home, and must live as we do, we don’t want the attention. Now we are asked to leave this site and only have a few days to figure our living situations.” it was just a little boy lost, hungry, thirsty, cold, its automatic as a human being to help the poor kid.

  23. Papilio September 9, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    @pentamom: I knew it.

  24. Jill September 9, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    @Anne Washburn I’m sorry your aunt was murdered, but the fact that her killer was homeless doesn’t mean that the majority of homeless people are evil.
    If your aunt had been killed by an accountant, would you be warning us not to let our children anywhere near accountants?
    And considering the way the economy’s going, and how a significant portion of the population is one paycheck away from facing homelessness themselves, maybe we should look at homelessness as less of a moral failing and more the result of not having any money.

  25. John September 9, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    @Ann Washburn:

    Quote: “not all homeless are the sweet angels that you seem to think they are”

    Not all doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, policemen, firemen, brick layers, construction workers, social workers, counselors, factory workers, etc., etc., etc. are the sweet angels that you seem to think they are either.

  26. J.T. Wenting September 9, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    “If your aunt had been killed by an accountant, would you be warning us not to let our children anywhere near accountants?”

    that would be sound advise anyway…

  27. Gina September 9, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

    Joanna,
    Please add me to the list of those who are thanking Jose for his kindness.
    Is there anything we (or I) can do to help him and his friends. Are you also homeless with your kids? What do you need and how can people help you?
    🙂
    Gina

  28. Joanna September 10, 2014 at 2:29 am #

    Gina,

    I will show Jose the comments next time I see him. No, I’m not homeless. I would be out there on the streets with my boyfriend Jose if it wasn’t that my uncle opened his home for me and my children. We were homeless twice, living in hotel rooms, living out of our car but I have young children and its not the best situation for my kids. When my uncle opened up his hone to me and my children, I was happy and heartbroken at the same time…how can I just leave Jose out there! But I had to think of my children first. I try my best to do what I can for Jose. Honestly, he has had a tough time finding work and really that is what he really needs, but as far as survival. Imagine you are going camping, what would you need, what do you pack, what are your necessities. While I was with him last night, I learned that there are three women and four men in that particular area. At this point food, water, candles are necessities they can definitely use. But in reality they all need a home, shelter, a place to lay their head down at night.please at the very least keep them in your prayers. I worry day and night for his safety, those streets are scary and dangerous.
    I thank you for not judging my homeless man who I love and know did what anyone else would’ve done.

  29. Gina September 11, 2014 at 12:06 am #

    Joanna,
    If you would like to, please email me at

    [email protected]

    and give me an email address where I can speak to you privately.

    🙂