Deputies: Missing boy with autism found safe in water as deep as his neck

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. — 6:10 p.m. update

The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday evening that 16-year-old Peyton Pickard was found safe by a K9 unit.


The boy was found in a swamp in water that was as deep as his neck.

He was found about a half mile from his Bushnell home.

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Deputies said the boy was covered in mosquito bites.

“Thank you to the community, and thank you to every agency that was out here,” Flagler County Undersheriff Pat Breeden told Channel 9. “I’m glad that the outcome was as good as it is.”

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5:55 p.m.

The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday afternoon that 16-year-old Peyton Pickard has been found safe.

“Thank you to everyone who assisted in this search,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

Deputies will provide a live update on the successful search effort Tuesday evening. Click here to stream it live once it begins.

Watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News for live updates.

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Earlier story:

A teenager with autism is missing in Sumter County and law enforcement said there’s an active search underway to find him.

Early Tuesday, Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a Missing Child Alert for 16-year-old Peyton Pickard.

Pickard left his home in Bushnell on Monday and hasn’t been seen since, according to Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

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The boy’s home is in the area of County Road 575 and W County Road 48, officials said.

Deputies said the teen is autistic and nonverbal.

Pickard was last seen walking away from his home, wearing only black boxer shorts.

Peyton Pickard is described as:

  • 16 years old
  • Brown hair
  • Blue eyes
  • Approximately 5′7″
  • Approximately 120 lbs.
  • Burn scar on right leg

Sumter Sheriff’s Office said there is a large law enforcement presence in the area of where the child disappeared as officials continue to search for him.

Anyone who sees Pickard or might know his whereabouts is asked to call 911 immediately.

Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

Jason Kelly joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2014. He serves as the station's Digital Executive Producer.

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