Missing teen with autism found safe

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police have found a teenage girl with autism who went missing from her north Phoenix home two days ago.  She was found on Saturday crying beside a road but no one knew who she was until Sunday night.

Police said 16-year-old Deanna Lynn Blanco was last seen on Friday night in the area of Bell Road and 7th Street. She had gone into a tantrum and struggled away from a family member who was trying to keep her from running away.  

The family and police were unable to find her after searching all Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

They were worried about Deanna because she is fearful of most strangers, all men, doesn't know her address or phone number and doesn't have an I.D.  According to her family, Deanna also has difficulty with her hearing and vision.  And despite being 16 years old, Deanna behaves at an eight year old level.

"I’m her safety blanket and I’ve always been there to take care of her.  And no matter what happens she’s always turned to me and if she’s not coming home maybe It’s because she can’t find me," said Dawn Shepley, Deanna's mother, prior to finding Deanna.   

According to Phoenix Police, someone actually found Deanna on Saturday, crying beside a road.  They took her to a children's center which then contacted Child Protective Services.  CPS came to get Deanna but still didn't know who she was or where she belonged until Sunday night. 

Deanna is back with her mother and step-father.