Autistic boy, 14, assaulted at Conger playground


Staff report



A 14-year-old autistic boy was assaulted at Conger Elementary School Saturday afternoon, according to his family.

“I just lost it,” said Sherry Hedges, when she saw her child at Grady Memorial Hospital after getting off work.

The family lives about four houses away from the school. Hedges said she’s a 10-year resident and had no issues with the neighborhood before the incident.

“We’ve been very protective of him,” she said.

But she and her husband allowed their son, Brandon, who also has juvenile diabetes and bipolar depression, to go out to the school yard on his own during the daytime over the past few months.

Her son likes to go on the swings and dance around, while listening to music. He decided to find shade underneath the playground equipment at about 2 p.m., Hedges said.

A man then came up behind him and started strangling him to unconsciousness, she said. When Hedges’ son regained consciousness, he was strangled again when he attempted to resist.

He ended up on the ground, according to his mother, and the man asked for any money Hedges’ son had. Her son handed him $6.

“My son apologized to him because that’s all he had,” Hedges said.

The man then kicked her son in the face and walked away.

The boy then walked home to alert his father, who called police.

No arrests have been made.

Delaware Police Captain Adam Moore reported the boy provided a description of the man and said he was a white male in his 20s, with tattoos on his forearms and wearing a gray shirt, jeans and cowboy boots.

Moore said the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can contact police at 740-413-1112.

Hedges said the school reached out to her, informing her that its security cameras captured footage of the incident.

Hedges was taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus to check for brain damage. He was cleared to go home at 11:30 p.m. that day.

“This brave boy started crying on the way home,” because of the outpouring of support on social media, Hedges said.

Staff report