The search for a missing autistic boy has escalated into a police inquiry amid concerns of potential foul play in his disappearance. Sebastian Rogers, aged 15, vanished a week ago from his residence in Sumner County, Tennessee, where he resides with his mother and stepfather, Chris Proudfoot, who was away for work. His mother, Katie Proudfoot, discovered he was missing when she went to wake him for school on February 26. No signs of forced entry were found, implying he may have left voluntarily. Though the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported 359,094 missing children cases in 2022, the majority are resolved swiftly. Ab*ductions by non-custodial relatives or parents are common, while stranger ab*ductions are rare.

A comprehensive search involving various resources such as scent dogs, drones, helicopters, and search teams is underway to locate the vulnerable teen. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has issued an Amber Alert describing him as having a medical condition impairing his ability to return unaided. Described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing 120 pounds, with brown hair, brown eyes, and wearing black sweatpants and a sweatshirt, the teen was last seen. The TBI has urged residents, especially around Beech High School and Long Hollow Pike, to inspect their properties for any signs of his presence.

Since Rogers disappeared, there have been no sightings of him, and he hasn’t appeared on any security camera footage. Authorities have not identified any suspects.

Newsweek reached out via email to the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office for additional information and comment.

Sources close to the investigation confirmed that authorities are now considering foul play and indicated that the case may transition into a criminal inquiry, as reported by local broadcaster News Channel 5. Despite ongoing search efforts, Sumner County EMA Director Ken Weidner stated, “We’re scaling it back a little bit.”

Chris and Katie Proudfoot granted an interview to local news channel WSMV over the weekend. Katie, in tears, expressed, “I just want my baby to be okay… He’s not a runner. He’s never run away before. I don’t know why he walked out that door… We’ve been combing over that day, and even the weeks before he left, and I haven’t been able to figure it out. That morning he was laughing, he was joking.”

The parents informed the station that the boy isn’t active on social media and has limited online presence.

The couple mentioned they’ve faced harassment with people pointing fingers at them.

“You’re not in the situation,” Chris Proudfoot stated. “You don’t quite understand. I wish people would step back, take a different wide-open view, and not assume what they know. It’s just better to stick to the facts. I can tell you that [his] mom, myself, and the father, have worked very fully and cooperatively with all agencies across the board.”

He added that he and his wife are hopeful Rogers will return home. “He’s going to walk through that door and the street will be flooded again with relatives all waiting to hug him and love him.”

Authorities have appealed to the public to provide any information they may have, including footage from their Ring camera doorbells of anything suspicious that occurred on Sunday, February 25; not only from the evening when Rogers vanished but from any time during the day.

Anyone with information about the missing teenager should contact the Sumner County Emergency Communications Center at 615-451-3838 or the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

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