Paramedics Help Locate Missing Teen, With Boost From ‘Alexa’

Incident Type
Assist Citizen
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 - 8:20am
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 - 8:25am
Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood
Madison, WI

The search for a 16-year-old boy on Madison’s near-west side was put to a close Wednesday morning thanks, in part, to a simple command: “Alexa, call Mom.”

Medic 4 and Engine Co. 4 were sent to a home in the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood for an “unknown problem.” Paramedics knocked on the door and were greeted by a young man with Down syndrome who appeared confused.

“I’m lost and having a heart attack,” he said.

Paramedics stepped inside and had the young man sit down so they could evaluate his complaint of a possible heart attack. They determined he was not having a heart attack, nor any other type of medical emergency, but he was indeed confused about his whereabouts.

Medic 4 searched for clues inside the home, hoping to find names of other occupants or homeowners who might be able to provide more information. When those names were found, the young man told paramedics he did not know the people or names affiliated with the home.

With help from the Dane County 911 Public Safety Communications Center, Medic 4 was connected with the 911 caller, who was located in Waukesha. The 911 caller said he’s the father of the person who owns this home, and he received a call from there, believing it to be his son.

“He sounded confused, so I called 911 for him because I thought he was having a medical issue,” the 911 caller explained to Medic 4.

When paramedics described the young man sitting on the couch, the 911 caller said he did not know the person described. 

Paramedics continued to ask questions of the young man and eventually learned he had been riding his bike earlier that morning. He stopped at this house after he got lost. It was a house familiar to him because he’d visited over a year ago when family friends lived there. Today, however, the home is occupied by new owners.

While inside the house, lost and confused, the young man turned to an Echo smart speaker and asked Alexa to call “Mom.” That call connected him with the actual homeowner’s father in Waukesha.

All the pieces of the story were coming together. The young man was able to share with paramedics his actual address, located a little over a mile away. With additional coordination through the 911 Center, Medic 4 learned that an active search for this missing teen was already underway with Madison Police.

The boy’s mother responded to Medic 4’s location along with MPD, and the two were reunited, putting the three-hour search to an end.

Posted 06/06/2019 - 7:11am

Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer)