Sumter County missing teen with autism located; alert canceled

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been canceled after a missing Sumter County teenager with autism was located a mile from his home. 

Authorities said Peyton Pickard, 16, was in relatively good health when he was found in a body of water by the Withlacoochee River and taken to a hospital for evaluation.

"Peyton was found in neck-deep water in a lake in a swamp next to the river," Sumter County Undersheriff Patrick "Pat" Breeden said. "He is obviously dehydrated, covered in bug bites and scratches, but he is being medically treated."

Photos of Peyton Pikard via the Sumter County Sheriff's Office

Pikard was reported missing on Monday (Memorial Day) after walking away from his home near County Road 575 and State Road 48 northwest of Bushnell. A bloodhound located the teen in rough, densely wooded, swampy terrain late Tuesday afternoon. The nonverbal, 5'7", 120-pound teen was only wearing underwear. 

The search to find him spanned Sumter and Citrus counties by air, land, and water. Volunteers assisted multiple law enforcement agencies across the state, searching on foot and horseback. 


SKYFOX flew over Sumter County Tuesday morning as law enforcement searched for Pikard. Watch the search in the video player below: