California teen with autism who went missing in 2019 is found in Utah
On April 9, Summit County sheriff’s deputies found Connerjack Oswalt in front of a gas station near Park City, Utah.
In September 2019, then-16-year-old Connerjack Oswalt went missing from Clearlake, Calif., a town a little over an hour’s drive northeast of Santa Rosa.
For more than two years, his family scoured missing children postings from all over the country, hoping for a sign that Oswalt, who is autistic, was alive.
They found nothing but false hope.
For a few days after his initial disappearance in 2019, the family was around an hour behind Connerjack, spotting him on gas station security footage, but the trail eventually ran cold.
This month, in the early morning hours of April 9, deputies with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office in Utah, near the ritzy enclave of Park City, invited a young man to sit in their cruiser to escape the frigid temperatures.
They had encountered the man before around town, but he had not broken any laws, officials said. He refused to give his name but allowed deputies to scan his fingerprints, and after combing through missing child databases, the deputies believed they had identified the man: Connerjack Oswalt.
They contacted Oswalt’s parents, Suzanne and Gerald Flint, who now live in Idaho, and asked if their son had any identifying marks.
He did, his mother told the sheriff’s office: a birthmark on the back of his neck. The man in the cold had such a birthmark.
Gerald Flint and Oswalt’s grandfather left Idaho and drove 225 miles to Summit County.
Summit County deputies reveal to the Oswalt family that their missing son, Connerjack, has been found.
In deputy body camera video, Gerald Flint is seen sitting at a table, surrounded by deputies, with Suzanne Flint on speakerphone. The deputy presents Gerald with photos.
“Is it him?” Suzanne asks.
Gerald cocks his head and exhales. “A little bit older but yeah,” he answers.
“Oh my God. My sweetheart’s alive,” Suzanne says, sobbing.
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Connerjack, now 19, was still in Utah this week, while Gerald Flint had returned to his home in Idaho. The family now faces new questions and struggles.
“The most important thing is keeping him safe at this point,” Flint said in an interview with The Times.
“One of our biggest challenges right now, since he’s legally an adult, is trying to make sure we can still look after his safety while obviously respecting his autonomy,” Flint said. “We’re working on that, but we’re not quite there yet.”
Connerjack is welcome to come home if he wants to, Flint said, adding that he’d “love to see him capable of living on his own.”
“Regardless of what the future looks like, we want what’s best for him, as any parent should,” he said.
It was not clear what Connerjack had done in the years he was missing, and his initial disappearance in 2019 is under investigation, Flint said.
“All he really shared with us that he was on a life’s journey,” Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez said. “He really didn’t go into much detail.”
Aside from worrying about their missing son, the family weathered its own crises during the time that Connerjack was gone.
“We came close to losing his mother, my wife, to COVID,” Flint said. “I’ve had COVID three times, and I got sepsis and was hospitalized for four days for something else,” he said. “He could have come back to being one or both parents down.”
Despite the questions that still linger about both Connerjack’s past and future, when asked whether he was sleeping better knowing where his son is, Flint answered clearly: “Yes.”
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