Sergio Zepeda, a six-year-old boy with Autism, wandered away from his home on Saturday. After over 20 hours missing, his parents started to fear the worst. But thanks to the efforts of a homeless man, Zepeda was returned home safely on Sunday morning.
Zepeda was discovered by homeless man Jose Salmeron at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning. According to Salmeron, Zepeda was naked and shivering when he was found. Salmeron and his wife immediately took Zepeda into their tent and offered him shelter, clothing, and water. The couple later discovered that the boy had been missing for hours and wandered over four miles from his house.
Salmeron and his wife asked Zepeda who he was and where he came from, but the boy’s Autism makes it difficult for him to speak coherently. Salmeron then borrowed a friend’s cell phone and called 911. Police arrived and immediately identified Zepeda as the boy who had been reported missing by his parents earlier that day.
San Jose Police Lt. Jason Herr complimented Salmeron on his decisive handling of the situation.
"Just to see the officers light up -- 'We got him! We found him!'" said San Jose Police Lt. Jason Herr. "And thank God for the homeless folks back there, you know? They did exactly what needed to be done. They took care of him and called 911. Case closed."
KTVU reports that the San Jose Police Department wants to nominate Salmeron for the Good Samaritan Award, but Salmeron doesn’t feel deserving of the praise.
“We're not heroes,” Salmeron said. “It was the only right thing to do. When you see a helpless kid like that, you are supposed to do the right thing, and just call the cops right away. Thank God he didn't get hit by a train, or fall into the water.”