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Police searching for missing child in Bristol

Bristol Herald Courier - 12/30/2017

BRISTOL, Tenn. - As temperatures crept downward Friday evening, authorities searched for a missing New York teenager with autism in a Bristol, Tennessee, neighborhood.

Nancy Chocquette of Oneida, New York, said she was passing through Bristol on her way home from middle Tennessee. Her family had to make an unplanned stop off Interstate 81, so, with help from her van's GPS, they drove to the nearest Walmart, located on Volunteer Parkway. The family wasn't familiar with Bristol, she said.

Her son, Isaiah Choquette, 15, became upset in the parking lot and ran off into the woods, she said. She lost sight of him as he climbed up the embankment behind Walmart. The boy, who she said has a number of disabilities, including autism, was wearing a winter blue jacket, a blue shirt and jeans.

It was just before 5:30 p.m. Friday when the boy disappeared, and the temperature was already below freezing as an Arctic blast began to settle on the Twin City. The National Weather Service office in Morristown, Tennessee, predicted a low of 23 this morning under mostly cloudy skies.

The Bristol Tennessee Police Department and Bristol Tennessee Fire Department were quickly called to the scene.

Police Capt. Charlie Thomas said officers immediately began searching the area. They hoped to find him quickly due to the frigid temperatures because the boy wasn't wearing gloves or other protection.

Video surveillance from Walmart showed the boy climbing the steep embankment behind the store, Thomas said. Police said the terrain behind Walmart was rough and that it had been used by hunters in the past.

At least one K-9 was initially called to the scene to try to pick up a scent, and two helicopters were called to the area. A Wellmont helicopter wasn't able to get low enough to monitor the rough terrain along Volunteer Parkway, so a Virginia State Police helicopter was called to help, Thomas said. Once in the area, the State Police helicopter used various technology to search the woods.

After a few hours, a search and rescue team from Kingsport, Tennessee, was dispatched to the scene to help. They were expected to bring multiple bloodhounds to search the woods. Officers also searched the neighborhoods around Sunnybrook and Blue Bonnet Drive.

"We'll be out here until we find him," Thomas told the boy's distraught mother, who waited with her other children and a small dog.

The boy had never run from the family before, the mother said.

"He's a momma's boy," she said. "I don't know why he ran."

Police were not requesting the public's help on the ground late Friday.


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