Mother demands answers after special-needs son wandered away from school

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Ky-Mani was gone for nearly an hour and the Mesa school didn't notice he was gone. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ky-Mani was gone for nearly an hour and the Mesa school didn't notice he was gone. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Ky-Mani sneaked off through a back gate on Tuesday afternoon. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ky-Mani sneaked off through a back gate on Tuesday afternoon. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
He was spotted at the gas station next door, where an employee called the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) He was spotted at the gas station next door, where an employee called the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
A representative from the school told 3TV/CBS 5 they are still reviewing security footage and are working with their supervisors to go through their procedures and policies. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A representative from the school told 3TV/CBS 5 they are still reviewing security footage and are working with their supervisors to go through their procedures and policies. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A special needs boy is found wandering in east Mesa, but his school didn't know he was missing until a sheriff's deputy called them.

His mother wants to know how it happened, and why no one noticed he was gone.

Eight-year-old Ky-Mani has autism.

"He’s known to be a wanderer and a runner,” said his mother, Reachelle Brooks. “It's funny his name actually means ‘adventurous traveler.’"

Brooks sent Ky-Mani to Lexington Life Academy at Southern and Ellsworth in Mesa for fall break.

“He's actually not high functioning, he needs a lot of assistance, he requires a lot of attention,” said Brooks.

Tuesday afternoon, the little boy sneaked off, likely through a back gate.

Thankfully, he didn't go far. He was spotted at the gas station next door, where an employee called the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

An MCSO spokesperson tells 3TV/CBS 5 a school administrator told the responding deputy they were not missing any children.

The deputy instructed them to do a headcount. It was then they realized the boy was missing.

At that point, it's estimated the child had been gone for nearly an hour.

"That’s the worst fear for a parent, for a special needs parent," said Brooks.

Brooks says she only found out about the incident after the deputy called her to follow up.

"He just opened that lock and was gone, so there definitely needs to be more precautions in these particular schools as far as safety goes, because that's unacceptable, anything could have happened to my son, my son would have been a statistic," Brooks said.

A representative from the school told 3TV/CBS 5 over the phone they are still reviewing security footage and are working with their supervisors to go through their procedures and policies.

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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