Several New York officials have been placed on leave after a 14-year-old boy with autism allegedly wandered away from his school bus and drowned in a nearby river.
CBS News reported that surveillance footage caught Trevyan Rowe walking away from James P.B. Duffy School 12 on the morning of March 8. A half-hour later, the teen was reportedly spotted at a highway bridge over the Genesee River in Rochester—prompting multiple 911 calls from concerned motorists.
Rowe’s body was recovered from the river Sunday, following a three-day search involving hundreds of volunteers, according to CBS.
Blame has been assigned to several places in the week following his death.
City officials have since accused dispatchers of ignoring protocol by failing to send rescue crews to the bridge until after receiving several calls. Some of those calls indicated that someone was walking on the wrong side of the guardrail. That “someone” is now believed to have been Rowe.
On Tuesday, Mayor Lovely Warren and emergency officials announced that six employees of the Monroe County 911 center have been suspended.
Alarmingly, Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams revealed that a day after Rowe’s disappearance, a teacher attempted to alter attendance records to make it appear as if Rowe was marked ‘absent’ for that day, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. Three teachers are believed to have marked Rowe as ‘present’ on the day he disappeared. School officials said that those three teachers have been placed on administrative leave.
The district also indicated Tuesday that Rowe was classified as having a learning disability, not autism. The teen was reportedly in a self-contained class of 15 students and one teacher. However, officials said Rowe wasn’t provided with transportation accommodations—meaning he rode a regular bus, leaving most students and staff with no indication that he had a history of wandering off, according to the newspaper.
Foul play isn’t suspected in Rowe’s death. The late teen’s aunt recently told WHEC that she believes her nephew got off the bus because he believed he was in trouble for losing his phone.
“I know that if he wasn’t so furious about that phone, he would still be here,” Jean Handy told the station.
“It was just that phone. He was so scared, so hurt.”
[Featured Image: Trevyan Rowe/WHAM]