A Special Olympics athlete who was reported missing at Los Angeles International Airport was found Monday afternoon in Inglewood after he wandered away from his Ivory Coast teammates.
Shion Isimel, a table tennis competitor who has a mild form of autism, was with the country’s delegation at about 6:30 a.m. near the Delta Air Lines ticketing area before they became separated. The 15-year-old French-speaking athlete was wearing black sunglasses and an orange shirt with “Special Olympics” written on the back.
The delegation arrived at LAX Monday morning, preparing for their return flight home to the West Africa nation after the World Games, which wrapped up Sunday with the closing ceremony. Isimel was seen on security camera video wandering away from the group of about 10 at the ticketing area.
He was then seen near 96th Street and Sepulveda Boulevard, just northeast of the airport terminals. Search teams were looking in parking structures, taxi lots, a bus depot and nearby restaurants, according to airport police.
Someone saw Isimel about six miles from the airport, laying on the front lawn in the 600 block of East Hyde Park Boulevard in Inglewood Monday afternoon, and notified the Inglewood Police Department, LAPD Commander Dennis Kato said.
When Inglewood police arrived, they found him sleeping on the grass and recognized the colorful Special Olympics lanyard around his neck, Kato said.
The teen was reported missing the same morning that an Albanian Special Olympics athlete who disappeared Saturday was found hundreds of miles from Los Angeles in Hayward. The 44-year-old man walked into a police station Monday morning after he disappeared Saturday from near the USC campus.
World Games officials and police were attempting to determine how the man traveled to the Alameda County community. He was in good health, police said.
NBC4’s Angie Crouch contributed to this report.