Mother of Autistic Girl Found Safe Talks - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Mother of Autistic Girl Found Safe Talks

After a grueling search, a missing autistic child is found just a short distance from her home. Celeste or "Cessie" is believed to have wandered into what neighbors call the creek bottoms near her home on county road 4122 near Lindale. Nearly 200 people joined in a massive search involving 3 fire departments, the Smith County Sheriff's Department, and ALERT academy cadets from Big Sandy.  After nearly 12 hours of searching, the little girl was found in a clump of trees only 400 yards away from her home.

Watching her swing outside was relief to a mother's heart. Rachel Stevens and her husband call Cessie their daughter after having custody of her since she was six.

"It's just completely miraculous," said Rachel, "She is so silly. She is precious."

Cessie is severly autistic, often get's manic and wanders off. Despite precautions they have in place that's what happened Thursday night.

"Brought her in from swinging and gave her her bedtime medication and started cooking. She knows when I've got my back turned that she can sneak out," said Rachel, and she did, "I drove all around these first two acres, looked in all our vehicles and this is lost. Lost lost."

With Cessie lost alone, Rachel also had to worry about something other than just the cold.

"It was really scary to think of the animals down there. My husband said he saw panther prints down there I know there is boars down there. No telling what else," said Rachel. 

"Scared, but faithful that those who came to help would find Cessie, and that she would be protected from both the wild animals and the cold.

There were so many people for support and help. Everybody wanted to get out, get out there and go look for cessie

To come out just a little bit scraped and a few pricks on the bottom of her feet you know being bare foot all night. Once the ambulance arrived, Rachel immediately jumped in with Cessie. Quick to bring her favorite toys and blanket to make her feel comfortable

"I asked her did you get in the mud and she said mud and I asked her do your foot her and she said feet," said Rachel.

Now home, a bit tired, the family says God heard every prayer.

"She was lost and now she is found," said Rachel, "He answered all our prayers and gave her back to us."

Rachel says they have help in the mornings before school and usually have help in the evenings as well. Unfortunately they had to fire that employee a week and a half ago and are actively searching for her replacement. The family said they are also talking to their social worker about getting a full time nurse.

Danielle Capper, Reporting.


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