Police officers on the Outer Banks Friday morning saved the life of a Virginia boy with severe autism who wandered away and fell into a pond as his family was packing to leave.
Kill Devil Hills police were dispatched to a missing child in the Bermuda Bay neighborhood at 9:20 a.m., after the 6-year-old boy, described as non-verbal and severely autistic, slipped away.
“Every available officer, administrator and investigator from the police department” coordinated a search for the boy in the densely-packed neighborhood of winding streets and cul-de-sacs, Kill Devil Hills police Capt. John Towler said.
About 15 minutes after the 911 call, town police officers Joey Delmonte and Austin Gray spotted the boy floating in a pond in the southern section of Bermuda Bay near Paget Road.
The officers rushed to the pond and jumped in as the boy began to sink under the surface. They pulled him out and began first aid, with the boy struggling to breath after ingesting “a considerable amount of water,” Towler said.
The town fire department and Dare County emergency medical services provided medical attention at the scene and the boy was taken to The Outer Banks Hospital for further evaluation, Towler said. The boy and his family are from Montclair in Northern Virginia.
Officer Delmonte is an 11-year police veteran and has been with Kill Devil Hills police department since 2019, after seven years with Portsmouth police. Officer Gray is a five-year veteran who also worked with the Dare County Sheriff’s Office.
“They jumped in and pulled him out … and saved his life,” Towler said. “A happy ending. Scary moment, but good job for our guys acting quickly and the sharp eyes just to see the young man in the water.”