A man who couldn’t talk was last seen in Silver Spring, Maryland, last week. His family said that he was found in a “back room” of the Glenmont Metro station.
A 31-year-old man with Down syndrome named Rashawn Williams was found inside the station after his family begged for help for six days. Metro General Manager Randy Clarke said Friday morning that a Metro officer found him.
Williams’ father, Jimmy Hall, told News4 that he was thirsty and hungry when he was found. He was taken to the hospital to be checked out. He may have been in the Metro station’s back room for days.
When Hall said, “We never would have thought in a million days, a million years, that he would have been in the same place for six days while we searched the whole DMV.”
“I can’t put into words how I feel.” Any,” he added, calling his son’s safe return a “blessing.”
The first time Williams saw his family, they scared him. But then he started “jumping up and down and was happy to see us,” his dad said.
“Hi, Daddy,” he could say.
At first, it wasn’t clear why Williams hadn’t been found sooner or if Metro had ever looked in the back room.
His dad asked, “Where did the ball go?”
After getting out of the hospital on Friday afternoon, Williams smiled and posed for pictures with his family outside of the Metro station. “Like nothing ever happened,” his father said, he was hungry.
The general manager of Metro said that the company would support a police investigation into what happened and that they would look into what happened.
“We’re so glad Rashawn got home to be with his family.” Our police officer found him. At this point, Clarke said, “we’re going to look into it and see if there’s anything we could have done better.”
The police in Montgomery County said that on Wednesday, surveillance video showed Williams leaving the Glenmont station on Saturday.
Around 10:20 p.m. Thursday, county police told the public that Williams had been found “safe and unharmed,” but they didn’t give any more information right away.
News4 saw a number of doors inside the Glenmont station. Some of them were marked “authorized personnel only.” It wasn’t clear where Williams was found or why he stayed there. His dad thinks he might have gotten inside and was able to figure out how to get out.
‘I don’t know if someone has him’
Williams wasn’t seen for about seven miles after he was found. He was staying with people from his group home at a Residence Inn on Plum Orchard Drive in the White Oak area. They had to stay there because the facility in Rockville had caught fire. He told his caretakers he was going to the bathroom and then didn’t come back. In the end, surveillance video showed him leaving the hotel.
The care company said they called Williams’ family about an hour after he disappeared, but Williams’ dad says they didn’t call him for two hours. As his family looked for days at possible routes for him, he was crazy with worry.
“Because he has Down syndrome, I don’t know if someone has him or not.” The man can’t talk, and he doesn’t have any ID or a cell phone, Hall said.
The R2 bus route from Metro goes through Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and ends at the Fort Totten rail station in Washington, D.C. Hall said his son took this route in the past.
Hall himself works for Metrorail. Several people at work told him that his son got on a Red Line train at Fort Totten and rode it back and forth for several hours on Friday night, until the train stopped running.
People who work at the Glenmont Metro station told Hall that they saw his son get off a train there on Friday night.
Hall said on Friday that he thinks Montgomery County police didn’t go after the case hard enough or work with other agencies quickly enough. He said that the investigation took a new direction when the special victims unit of the county police department got involved.
“Things began to move when they took over,” he said. “There was no progress before Tuesday.”
Hall asked that law enforcement agencies work together better.
Earlier this week, he wept as he pleaded for more help from Metro to find his son.
“It’s like my son isn’t important. Imagine he was a senator’s son … or government. They’d have a helicopter. They’d have found him that night,” he said.