Missing autistic teen found on a trolley at Kenmore

Jeffrey Cooper

Update, 8:50 p.m. He was spotted on a trolley at Kenmore Square by an inspector, didn't want to get off, but is now with a Transit Police officer.

Jeffrey Cooper, an East Boston teen with a love of trains, disappeared yesterday afternoon and is still missing this morning, despite wearing a LoJack bracelet designed to alert police to his presence.

LoJack tweeted at 9:30:

He is wearing a LoJack SafetyNet tracking bracelet and we are doing our best to find him.

Cooper is black, 6'1" and about 160 lbs. Transit Police report he was wearing a green Red Sox baseball cap, a red and gray jacket, blue jeans, a black backpack, a blue Superman watch on his left wrist and gray high top sneakers.

Transit Police have posted two recent photos of Cooper.



    Free tagging: 


    Not to be insensitive, but

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    Not to be insensitive, but this kid goes missing about once a month. There must be more to the story.

    Once a month? I've read this

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    Once a month? I've read this site pretty regularly over the last few years and have only noticed posts about him missing maybe five times at the most. This just happened in NYC and the kid's body was eventually found dismembered in the East River so it's not unreasonable to send out an alert so he can be found as soon as possible. It is not an inconvenience whatsoever to read an alert and there's no benefit in trying to blame the kid's caretakers or parents... he has autism and his brain doesn't work in the same way as yours or mine. You're not insensitive, just not very smart either.


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    This daggone boy again? There has to be a reason he's able to just take off without anyone knowing...

    Yes.... The reason he is

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    Yes.... The reason he is missing again is because his parents don't have eyes in the back of their heads. It's obvious by the sporadic... Times he goes missing that it has nothing to do with bad parenting...rather Jeffrey running off when the opportunity is there.

    Didn't say it was bad

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    Didn't say it was bad parenting. That shit didn't even cross my mind.

    Thanks, I needed to wipe a stupid grin off my face

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    Bad parenting? How the hell do we know that? The kid is now 18 and while I know nothing about dealing with autism (like pretty much everybody else who will comment on this thread, no doubt), I suspect a pretty much fully grown individual is pretty hard to control if he. just. wants. to. go.

    The thing that has always fascinated me about Jeffrey Cooper is how it shows the best of Boston: Police actually go out and look for the kid and I know that people on the T keep an eye out for him. We're a big city, but in some ways we're not, and that's a good thing.

    We've been really lucky so far - he's always been found. And given what happened in New York recently with another autistic teen who liked riding trains, I'm really hoping his luck continues.

    If he's 18, do his parents

    If he's 18, do his parents now need to wait 24 hours (or whatever the threshold is) before reporting him as missing, or because of the autism can it happen right away?

    Right On

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    I used to work with Autistic middle schoolers and their temperaments and personalities were as diverse as any other segment of the population.

    But there was one little guy who was so fierce, strong, wiry, fast, and sneaky that he would easily slip out of our grasp and run off school grounds on a regular basis.

    When I say "our" I mean 3 adult aides, the male principal, campus police, the huge (in stature) disciplinary deans.

    Glad Jeffrey is OK.

    There are certainly

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    There are certainly significant financial barriers to "better" care in this situation (as with elders with dementia) but keep keepin' on with your usual tenor of moral superiority by asserting that the only options are cages and tying him down.

    what's up with the lojack?

    I guess I don't understand how it works - isn't it like a GPS tracker? Why isn't it working?

    PS it's easy for people to wander off or escape. I wonder if he knows he's a celebrity!

    Yep, same technology

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    First it's activated, then it starts beeping and cops use some triangulating gizmo to hone in on the signal. It's not perfect - a few weeks ago, an elderly man with dementia went missing. A copy picked up the signal in the area of the Forest Hills T stop, but they couldn't find the guy - who was eventually found somewhere nowhere near Forest Hills.

    Isn't it kind of weird that

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    Isn't it kind of weird that LoJack is using some technology that's apparently way worse than what's in my iPhone?


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    You iPhone connects to GPS satellites underground?

    How about when its powered down needing a charge?

    Never has a hiccup where it won't display your location correctly?

    Jeffrey Cooper

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    LoJack does not use GPS because of the many difficulties associated with acquiring signals. Lojack does utilize radio technology in its tracking efforts, which is much more reliable and is not impeded in sending out its signal by being underground, inside buildings or even inside shipping containers inside cargo ships. Obviously a railrider is harder to locate because he is constantly on the move on trains. So even, when a signal is located, minutes later its gone with the person as he continues to a different stop and made even more difficult by switching to different lines, so it can be very frustrating to track under the best of circumstances. I am fully supportive of the efforts by the Boston Police and MBTA police to locate these wanderers as soon as possible and return them to their loved ones, especially during these winter months.

    Are there updated photos?

    For years police circulated a photo of Jeffrey from about age 12, shot at a weird angle, whenever he went walkabout. Are there any better, more recent photos? And how tall/heavy is he, approximately?

    He's a (physically) adult black man wandering the city alone. I worry about him.

    Where is John Walsh when needed?

    But how to solve a recurring problem? Change his name from Jeffrey to Mohammed and put wires sticking out of places on his jacket so the bomb squad, FBI, and Homeland Security all come looking for him. Modify one of those dog collars that shocks to instead make a loud alarm when going out of radio range of the owner's transmitter - that way who ever is supposed to watch him is alerted when he wanders off. Or, what they do in day care with preschoolers - tether them.


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    I thought just the snow was melting today, not people's brains.

    You did see the name

    You did see the name associated with that post, right? Are you surprised that Marky posted something moronic? In other news, water wet, fire hot.

    It's called a joke

    Turning the over-reaction in Boston to anything with wires being considered suspicious, because, horrors, they could have electronics in them. The dog collar thing is inexpensive existing technology that could be re-purposed. The tether is existing technology in use, again with possible new applications (something the FDA allows patenting for greater profit when its a drug being re-purposed). The right tool needed for the job should be based on the client's mental/emotional age, not chronological age, otherwise it will fail and the kid getting lost over again, or worse. Would you rather the kid end up dead than use a tether? A loving parent would pick the tether and life.


    If it weren't for the MBTA, he wouldn't be riding on it! He wouldn't be able to get very far!

    And if only we had more vehicle lane miles. Maybe he'd be flattened like a pancake, then we'd find him real fast.

    < / MarkSnark >

    iPhone signal

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    The iPhone could be found as long as the phone itself were able to get on the cell phone network or a recognized WiFi hotspot. It would report itself to any FindMyiPhone app that you log into (like my phone can be found from my iPad and vice versa) and tell you as exact a location as it can get (triangulating cell phone towers is weaker than clear GPS signals).

    LoJack (as is my understanding of it) has to use radio signals to locate it. If you aren't near it, then you won't pick up the signal and won't know if you're 1 mile or 5 miles from the person or which direction to head in. However, the radio signals will penetrate a bit better than cell phone signals so there can be instances where LoJack will be readable, but a cell phone might not be. However, in an urban environment thick with cell phone towers, it's fewer and farther between when this might be the case (even a subterranean garage impedes LoJack somewhat).

    Ripe for Apple picking

    Unfortunately, his love of trains would put him in contact with people who will part him from an iPhone. A cheap flip phone with GPS would be better! There are spy devices on the market that will report GPS location via cell telephony. Popular for attaching to the vehicle of suspected cheating spouse. If there isn't, there needs to be a GPS ankle bracelet with cool urban design, or in Lindsey Lohan and the like, some bling.

    The second trick

    Would be to get the kid to actually take it with him. Even autistic kids may be sufficiently aware that an i-phone could be a tracking device.

    Perhaps a train tracking app would get him to take it along? Or, maybe, it could be incorporated into his coat or backpack.


    It's been about 20 hours now.

    Jeffrey Cooper
    18 years old
    Black male
    ~ 6 feet 0 inches
    ~ 160 pounds
    Black hair
    Brown eyes
    Green Red Sox hat
    Light blue pants
    Black backpack w/bottle attached

    Believed to have been spotted at Ashmont Station this morning by Transit Police, who were unaware of his missing status.

    I think it's finally time to

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    I think it's finally time to consider re-naming the Charlie Card a Jeffrey Card. He may ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston...he's the man who always returns.

    I have a son with autism.

    He is a beautiful and charming little boy. He is, at 12 years old, 5" tall and 80 lbs soaking wet - basically a bean pole. And even at such a small size, if he really wants to do something, it is damn near impossible for me to get him not to. For all the deficits they do have, children with autism do not lack in determination!

    By son, like Jeffrey and many kids with autism, is also a bolter/wander. We also have a Lojack (it works on a radio signal, by the way, which is supposed to be more reliable than GPS), and we have quite a few safety mechanisms in place around the house including multiple locks on all outside doors. But sometimes he still gets out. How? Well, I am a single parent. Sometimes he bolts when I open the door to do essential tasks, like to take out the trash, to do the laundry, or even to get him on his school bus in the morning.

    Sometimes I just slip up and forget to lock something. My son often does not sleep well at night, sometimes literally not at all. If he is up then I am up, and that can get real exhausting. And that makes it easy to slip up.

    Care options for children with autism are very limited. Assistance through state agencies (the Department of Developmental Services or MassHealth generally) are extremely limited. Services offered through school districts are usually even more so. Parents like myself are often faced with very tough decisions like whether or not to place your child in a residential school for their own safety, sometimes as young as 5 or 6 years old (the youngest residential students at my son's school) - that can be heart breaking.

    I do not know this family or their situation, but I do easily see how this keeps happening - even with the most watchful and caring parents.

    Those who are supportive on here (as most are, surprisingly) keep it up. For those who would rather criticize, my son's school is always looking for volunteers to help out around the school. If you can pass a CORI, I will gladly hook you up with the contact information so you can have a little more insight about what autism is like.

    Thank you

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    so much for such a reasoned explanation. I don't think most of us can begin to understand the challenges and complexities of parenting an autistic child, especially as they grow into adolescence and adulthood.

    You rock, JillieBean!

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    You go, girl! Single parenthood is the best and the worst at times. Add challenges like you have and then try to wade through the heaps of judgmental shit thrown your way just makes it even harder. Stay strong!

    BPD just announced another

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    BPD just announced another BOLO. Mentioned he has a striking resemblance to Steve Urkel. I did not make that up.


    So it isn't just me that thought that? Ha.

    I imagine they'll find him and explain to him they just had a massive manhunt, and he'll say, "Did I do that?"

    Good to hear it

    Transit Police have posted two recent photos of Cooper.

    At this point, I wonder if they should post photos of this guy in all the stations. May be overkill, but that would help in the situation where he was seen this morning, but not recognized.

    I also wonder if he would be less likely to take off if he were offered regular "train time" in his weekly schedule. Just a thought.

    Yeah, it's kind of interesting

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    Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the human LoJack is pretty much identical to the car LoJack that was invented like 30 years ago, before cell towers. It gets activated and then it just pings, waiting for a passing cruiser with a LoJack detector to drive by and pick it up. Last night, a BPD dispatcher asked all on-duty officers with SafetyNet (the human version) experience to report to East Boston to begin the search for the kid.

    There's no "phoning home" like there is with, say, the systems used to recover phones and laptops. Wouldn't that make it much easier to find people - especially since they work off cell systems and the underground sections of the T are all wireless enabled now?

    From what I understand, its

    From what I understand, its basically the same system, its fairly low tech, requires little effort to keep the "victim" end working. Obviously we could go to a system using GPS, like we do for some criminals, but these devices need frequent recharging, which requires a level of compliance an adult (at least legally speaking) like Jeffrey may not be capable of performing.

    I'm not going to say SafetyNet is the best system ever, but it has had positive results. And sometimes, the old fashion method of just looking where you might expect someone to be can result in a successful location.

    In the case of Jeffrey Cooper, he likes riding the T, which means once he's on the T, there are so many possible places he could go, SafetyNet only works if the person you are looking for is somewhere remotely near where you are looking, if you think they're in Braintree and they're really at Kenmore, the system can't tell you that you are 10+ miles away from where you should be looking.

    You are right

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    They both have their advantages and disadvantages. LoJack radio waves get out of more places than cell phone frequencies. Cell phone towers are more prevalent and therefore easier to "find" the item trying to be tracked. Cell phones these days also have active and passive GPS systems giving them extreme accuracy when in a situation that allows for GPS. But LoJack doesn't need as frequent a battery recharge.

    I would think that a phone system that could be in an extreme low power state but activated via the cell phone network when the person needed to be found and able to provide a few hours of data streaming for GPS and cell tower triangulation data would be the best bet.