Missing Allentown boy with autism found by his former teacher

 

Relief and thankfulness fill Tamara Klas's heart, hours after she discovered one of her former students, Enoch Perez.

"Just a peace of mind," said the former teacher and current administrator at Executive Academy Charter School.

Officials said the 10-year-old boy has autism, and went missing late Friday night in the 500 block of North Fountain Street.

Police and family members scoured much of Allentown for hours, without a trace.

"Numerous police resources were devoted to this, detectives, trained officers from our youth division," said Allentown Interim Police Chief Glenn Granitz Jr.

Once Klas received word that Enoch was missing, she sprang into action. She, along with her daughter, circled neighborhood and surrounding streets for much of Saturday morning.

"I worked with that kid very close, I love him like he was my kid," Klas explained. "I couldn't just stay in my house looking at a post say 'oh my God I hope he's okay,' and do nothing."

Just when Tamara was about to give up, that's when she spotted Enoch at 9th and Tilghman streets in Allentown.

"I see a kid in the corner with a bike, I stop and scream 'Enoch!' and he's like 'Ms. Klas?'" Klas recalled. "I was like 'what are you doing everyone is looking for you?' he was like, 'I was at a friend's house.'"

In the wake of Enoch's safe return, Klas, along with the rest of the Executive Academy Charter School family, are elated. Enoch used to attend the charter school, and Klas currently works there.

"It was great, group texts going around, hit Facebook and people just super excited and proud of Tamara and praising her, and a ton of excitement," said Robert Lysek, CEO of the charter school.

The Allentown police chief says this story is just another example of the power of a strong, bonded community.

"It was an unbelievable story," Granitz said, smiling, "…just a really feel good moment, the teacher was very emotional, good to see that up close and personal."

Officials say Enoch is doing well, and is back with his family.