Boy, 13, spends 11 days alone on the subway

November 24, 2009 3:59:34 PM PST
For 11 long days, 13 year old Francisco Hernandez Junior criss-crossed four boroughs. All he had was his Metro Card, a backpack, and 10 bucks.

Why didn't he just go home?

"I was nervous. I was worried I was going to get into so much trouble," Francisco said.

You see Francisco got into trouble at school.

He was worried about getting into even bigger trouble at home with his parents.

So instead of heading to his bay 25th Street home, he walked to the nearby Bay Parkway Station, hopped on the D train, and took the battery out of his cell phone.

His mother, Marisela Garcia, said that she pictured the most horrible things happening to her son.

Francisco has Asperger's Syndrome, making him more vulnerable alone on the street.

It's a form of autism that causes problems with social interaction.

Yet the teenager survived on food and water from subway newsstands and he used public restrooms.

Francisco says he rode the D, F, and 1 trains. He says he would get on find a seat and sometimes fall asleep. He would ride each train until the end of the line. Then he would get off and look for another random train. He did that for more than a week.

Police interviewed school officials and classmates, along with his parents they canvassed neighborhoods and passed out fliers.

Then on October 26, a transit police officer found Francisco in a Coney Island subway station.

His mother says he was dirty and thin.

She says her son ran away once before for 5 hours.

She says she's considering a smaller school for children with learning disorders.

She prays with help this nightmare won't ever happen again.