Search continues for Phelps County boy with autism -

Search continues for Phelps County boy with autism

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Johnathan L Shay Johnathan L Shay
(Credit: Phelps County Sherrif's Department) (Credit: Phelps County Sherrif's Department)

PHELPS COUNTY, Mo. ( – The Phelps County Sheriff’s Department has located one of the two missing boys who were last seen July 9, but are continuing to search for the second boy, who is autistic.

Authorities found 11-year-old Xavier Baylor around 1:15 p.m. July 10 near the Dry Fork Creek in St. James, Missouri.

The Phelps County Sheriff's Department is asking everyone to pay special attention in St. James and areas south of St. James for the remaining missing boy, 13-year-old Johnathan L. Shay. 

With the dangerously high temperatures and without a safe source of food and water, authorities are worried, the longer Johnathan's adventure goes.

"The way it's looking now is that he's looking at it as a game he's trying to see how long he can stay out there before somebody finds him or he has to come back," said Johnathan's mother, Melissa Perkins.

According to authorities, Shay is autistic and described as being 5-foot-2 and 100 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray shirt, dark blue shorts and black tennis shoes. 

Authorities believe the boys wandered into the woods around 7:30 p.m. July 9 and split up. Baylor eventually made his way home.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Central Communications at (573) 308-1213.


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