The daily routine of Lori Salas usually includes meeting her two sons, 8-year-old Edward and 9-year-old Alex Brown, at the bus stop after school.
When Salas went to the bus stop April 3 and her son Edward was nowhere to be seen, however, her everyday routine became every parent’s worst nightmare. Even worse, his brother Alex had no idea where he was.
“I panicked,” the 38-year-old Salas recalled. “The first thing that I did was call the school.”Although Salas informed Merced police that her son was missing, the story has a happy ending. Her son, who had missed the school bus at John Muir Elementary, was found by Merced police on the 1100 block of Loughborough Drive. He was found about 30 minutes after he was reported missing and was walking home from school.
Edward said he missed his school bus because he tried to attend an after-school chess club meeting, but forgot the club was not scheduled to meet that day.
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In a show of gratitude, Edward presented four medals Friday to the police officers responsible for locating him. Merced Police Sgt. Cruz Jasso and Officer Allen Adrian were at the school to receive the medals, which Edward placed around their necks.
Officer William Avery, the recipient of the third medal, wasn’t available at the ceremony. Cmdr. Floyd Higdon said the fourth medal was presented by Edward to the entire department. It will be kept in the glass case inside the lobby of the Merced Police Department’s headquarters.
Engraved on the back of each medal are the words: “Thank You For Bringing Me Home, From Edward Brown 2008. Edward said he was happy that the police officers “earned their reward.” “He just wanted to find a way to thank them,” Salas explained. “I can’t even thank the officers enough for what they have done.”
Jasso, the officer who spotted Edward, said he found the youngster because his brother, Alex, was able to provide specific description of the color of shirt, pants and shoes that he was wearing. “You did an excellent job. You really helped your brother,” Higdon told Alex.Police were also concerned about Edward because they were first told by a witness that Alex may have gotten into the car of an unknown person. The piece of information was later found to be incorrect. “Initially, when we found that out, we were concerned,” Jasso said.Higdon said Edward is the first Mercedian to present a medal to either an officer or the department as a unit.
They brought him home.