Jeanine Malave, a mother of three from New York, lived every parent’s worst nightmare when she realized her autistic toddler was missing.
Speaking to WPIX11, Malave explained that she was in her kitchen doing dishes on August 30 when she realized her 3-year-old son Jariel, who has autism, was not in her room.
Considering she and her family resides on the seventh floor, she was a little perplexed as to where her little one could have vanished to.
After looking around and not seeing her son anywhere, she played back the footage from the nanny cam she had previously installed. Her heart sank as she watched her toddler pull at the window AC unit for several minutes before successfully removing it from the window and crawling out.
When reporters at WPIX11 asked her what she felt when she saw the video footage, she said she’d feared the worst. She’d feared that her little one was dead. She thought he had crawled out the window and fallen to his death.
To her surprise, and what some are referring to as a miracle, she looked out the window to discover her son managed to crawl across the scaffolding of the building. He had ended up going all the way to the other side of the building. He was outside of the kitchen of Maria Espertome.
Maria Espertome told the outlet she was washing dishes when she noticed the toddler outside of her window. After screaming in horror, she immediately ran to the window and made an attempt to pull him inside to safety.
“Give me your hand, little one. Give me your hand,” Espertome recalled saying as she desperately reached for the toddler.
Reporters asked Maria if the toddler appeared to be scared at the time. She told them that Jariel did not respond to her requests to come into the window because he was playing outside on the scaffolding.
According to Safety.com, chances are also pretty good Jariel was unaware of the fact that he was in any danger as Espertome attempted to pull him to safety. Most parents of children with autism are forced to live in constant fear as it is common for those with autism to have little to no real awareness of the dangers around them.
Unsuccessfully able to get the toddler inside, she called for his mother who rushed over to her apartment and was able to successfully pull her young son back through the window.
Remarkably, he was not injured.
Malave admitted to reporters that she “almost fainted” after having her son in her arms again.
How did little Jariel manage to pull the window AC unit out anyway?
Malave told the outlet that she had put in a request to the New York City Housing Authority to have a window AC installed professionally. When they did not respond, she was forced to install it on her own. She now claims the agency has placed blame on her for what happened to her son.
In response to news of the story on Twitter, members of the autism community with children of their own on the spectrum embraced the New York mother with nothing but support. Many noted that children with autism can be super strong, highly intelligent, and fearless.