Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Daddy's Big Scare - Alex Missing At UNR

Song:  Anybody Listening

Group:  Queensryche

Alex went to a special review session for his
Multivariable Calculus class (Calculus III) at UNR today.

It was to last almost 2 hours.

His final for this class is next Monday.

We made sure he had his phone...
that it was charged...
and we told him to give me a call if he got out early.

I drove him there and I walked him to the special review session.

We had arrived early so there were only two other students there at the time.

I left Alex to his review session.

I had assumed that his professor was conducting the review session.

It was someone from the tutoring center...
and this will be a factor in my initial alarm upon not finding him there 
at the conclusion of the class.

I then walked over to his normal building to eat some tacos.

After my early lunch...
I had sat outside and listened to music.

The skies were beautiful.

I then walked over to the building holding the review session
and waited outside as I listened to more music.

With a few minutes left before his session was scheduled to be completed...
I walked in and waited by the classroom entrance.

After the students had filed out...
the instructor came out and said that all the students had exited the room.

I looked in the classroom and had, indeed, found it to be empty.

I checked the bathrooms...
and I asked the monitor if she had seen other students leaving early.

She had said that students had trickled out at various times.

I was more upset than scared at this point as Alex could have gone to where
he thought I might have been...even though we had told him to call me
if he had left the session early.

I then walked to the car...nothing.

I remembered that I had told him that I was going to eat tacos...
so I walked there...nothing.

I kept trying to call Alex on his answer.

I tried calling home to see if he had called he had not.

At this point...
frustration was building as quickly as my anxiety.

I walked back to the building which had held the session and I had asked the name
of the tutor who had given the review session.

The monitor then told me where to go to find the person.

I walked there and found the tutor.

I had asked the tutor if any students had left early
and I had also told her where he had been sitting in the class.

I was going to show her a picture of Alex...
then she said that she remembered him.

When she had said this...
she was looking at my jaw line.

She then said that he looked like me  :)

I had her look at his picture just to verify that her recollection was of Alex.

She then said that Alex had left 45 minutes earlier.

I then asked if he had left alone or with others.

She said she couldn't remember if he had left alone or not.

I asked if there was a control center which had the video of the cctv cameras
of the entrances and exits to the building...
and I had asked for the number for the campus police.

She had pointed out that the campus police station was just across the street.

The tutor then pointed out that it was probably nothing...
since in her mind...he was of normal university age...
and could, therefore, have been talking with friends.

I replied that he was only 14 years old...and that he was Autistic.

I hurriedly walked to the police station.

Images of Alex having been kidnapped ran through my mind.

I was gathering my thoughts as to what I would tell the police.

I imagined that I would need to tell them that there was a missing minor...
and that I would tell them that they needed to lock down the campus...
and to then notify the Reno police.

I had Alex's picture on hand...
and so, I would have them print out flyers for rapid distribution
to all the officers.

My heart was almost beating out of my chest...
I was feeling nauseated...
I was slightly out of breath...
and I was sweating heavily.

I have been in many combative situations all my life...
I've had many street fights...almost all of them against much larger opponents
(all were strictly done in self defense)...
I've been in a few high speed motorcycle and car accidents.
In the ARMY...I had walked along knife ridges thousands of feet above
the surrounding terrain...under the dark of heavy rains and winds...
on a muddy wild pig trail only two or three feet across...
and almost certain death below should I have slipped one way or the other.
I had slack rappelled off of cliffs
(face first free falling for quite a distance before clinching a bite on the ropes)...
I've jumped from heights that should have scared me...but had not...and yet...

NEVER before...
 had I been shaken to the bone as I had been at this moment.

I had never known deep fear until I had first held my son, Alex.

I feared for him as I knew of evil and the many predators in the world...
and I knew how I had done many impulsive things in my youth.

I still don't feel fear so much when it concerns just me...
but I know how easily accidents can happen...
or how evil actions can easily be perpetrated...
and I know how Alex is still so innocent in his heart.

When it comes to Alex...
I am very protective...
and hypervigilant.

I was just at the police station's door when I had decided to check
my phone once more.

I called home.

Alex had called there...finally.

What I had not known was that after my initial call home...
my wife had gotten on her computer
and had tracked Alex's phone using the phone's GPS...
and his location had shown on a map.

She then used the iPhone and iMac feature which allows a person
to ping the phone so that it emits an alert from the phone
even if the silence feature is on.

Alex had had his phone on vibrate...
and it was in his backpack.

When he had heard the alert...
he called home.

Alex was in the Math and Science building across campus.
He was visiting his math professor and discussing
his past exams and getting explanations for those questions he had missed.

I was initially thinking that the professor wasn't teaching the final exam review
because he was ill or could not make it to the university on that day.

I walked over to the professors office...
and Alex emerged with a completely innocent face  :)

I wasn't mad...
I was just relieved that everything was okay.

We sat down in a lounge area...
and I asked him why he hadn't called me when he had changed locations.

He said that as he had left early...
he didn't think it would take so long...
and he thought he would have time to call after his discussion with the professor.


I then asked him why he had left the review session early.

He said that the review was only covering areas of which
he already had firm knowledge.


I asked Alex how he knew the professor would be in his office.

He said that the professor told his class that he would be in his office all day...
just so he could review anything the students might have not fully understood
during his course...and in preparation for the final exam coming this Monday.

Now...Alex had never mentioned this to me.

Alex then said that he wanted to show us that he could act independently.

Partially okay.

I then told him that while his initiative was good...
 his communication was not.

He just got his scolded puppy look
and I could not help but just rub his hair and then smile the relieved smile
of a father who had been granted a reprieve for his son.

I reiterated how he must call us in the future.

I simply must remember about the GPS tracking function first thing...
if it ever happens again.

Alex and I walked back across campus...
and back to the car.

We drove home.

Alex was greeted by a smiling momma.

I took a much needed shower  :)


  1. Did your wife not have a chance to call you after she heard from Alex? Glad that everything turned out okay, and that your heart got a good workout. ;)

  2. She said that she had tried calling me. My phone was on vibrate and was in my front pants pocket. I hadn't felt the phone vibrate, however, I was frantically walking from building to building in my search and I could have easily missed the call. As I have it in a water and shock proof case, everything is muted anyway.


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