LAST UPDATED Oct. 11 at 4:16 p.m.: The missing 17-year-old Wildomar autistic teen has been found safe.
Around 2 p.m. authorities confirmed that David Soto was found safe by a resident on Cameo Lane. The boy appeared in the resident's yard cold, wet and hungry, but otherwise unharmed, police confirmed. He was transported to Inland Valley Medical Center where he was being treated for hypothermia, his mother Anna Espinoza said.
"He's on I.V. fluid, but the doctor said he is going to be ok," Espinoza said from the hospital. "I'm just so grateful to everyone who helped find him. I can't thank them enough."
David went missing Wednesday, sheriff's officials said, and an all-out search ensued.
More than 100 residents and CERT volunteers joined the search Thursday. Wildomar Community Services Director Paula Willette coordinated efforts with emergency response managers from the county, as well as the cities of Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore and Menifee. Local agencies such as Southern California Edison, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, and local businesses joined the effort.
"It was mutual aid at its best. We could not have done it without everyone," Willette said, noting that online communities were instrumental in helping spread the word.
A flier was also distributed throughout the community and a secondary grid search with the volunteers was conducted.
Espinoza said police told her that the woman who found David recognized him from news reports.
"David was cold and thirsty, and I was told the lady gave him water and called police," she said.
It's unclear where the teen wandered to through the night. He disappeared from his home in the 34300 block of Chloe Court in Wildomar at about 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to Riverside County sheriff's Cpl. Angel Ramos.
David left a note for his mother stating he was going on a treasure hunt, sheriff's officials said.
Espinoza told Patch that David was last seen wearing beige khaki pants and black L.A. Lakers tennis shoes. He also left home with a brown pirate hat that featured a red hatband and dreadlocks attached to it, Espinoza said. The hat is part of a "Jack Sparrow" Halloween costume modeled off Johnny Depp's character in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film.
An eye patch and jacket that may have belonged to the missing teen were found by volunteers at the Wildomar/Murrieta boundary shortly before 1:30 p.m. at Englemann Oak Street and Elizabeth Lane in Murrieta, located in the proximity of The Colony and Inland Valley Medical Center, but the link had not been confirmed at press time.
More than 75 residents and city leaders, fire and police officials, and volunteers from CERT gathered at Wildomar City Hall Thursday morning to join the search effort. Instruction was provided and the group split up to canvas neighborhoods. The Wildomar Windsong community was the first area being targeted and search volunteers moved in a south westerly direction toward Palomar Street in Wildomar and Washington Avenue in Murrieta and into the plateau communities.
Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department and the Murrieta Fire Department were mapping the search effort and assigning streets to volunteers who continued to trickle into City Hall after Thursday's initial briefing.
According to Cpl. Flannery of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, a bloodhound tracked David's scent to Plowboys on Palomar Street in Wildomar late Wednesday.
David had left home before and was found at Bear Creek Golf Course in Murrieta. According to officials at the briefing, autistic kids can be drawn to bodies of water.
David attends school at Elsinore High School and officials in the district were notified, according to Cpl. Flannery.
Espinoza said her son is very friendly and is known for telling stories. He calls himself by different names, so she urged that searchers rely on his physical description.
"He is really easy to spot. He's super skinny, 6 feet tall, brown hair, brown eyes, about 125 pounds," she said.
"Thank you so much," she said through tears to the volunteers during Thursday's briefing.
After the boy was found, Lake Elsinore Sheriff's Station Captain Shelley Kennedy-Smith thanked the community for its participation in the search effort.
"This would not have been possible without them," she said.
David was reported missing about 6:20 p.m. Wednesday, police confirmed.
"We have our helicopter up, units on the ground, a tracking dog and are checking with local hospitals," Cpl. Ramos told Patch Wednesday evening.
Anyone who knows of his whereabouts was asked to call 911.
Police and David's family describe him as "highly functional" and a very "independent kid."
Thursday morning Wildomar City Councilwoman Bridgette Moore posted a message to the community on her Facebook page advising that volunteers could sign up to join the search for the missing teen. Moore joined the search efforts and after David was found said, "This was a great community effort. It was awesome."