LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — When you hear the term elopement, you might think of marriage, but that’s not its only meaning.

One Lansing mother says her son did not run away but instead eloped.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, elopement is when someone with disabilities leaves a safe area or caregiver.

“It’s a constant battle,” said Betty Nostrant, the mother of David Davis.

Betty Nostrant’s son David was reported by the Lansing Police as missing Wednesday.

But Nostrant says that this is not the first time he’s disappeared.

“He gets this overwhelming feeling, we call it his fight or flight. He has to get away from where he’s at,” Nostrant said.

Nostrant says her 11-year-old son is diagnosed with multiple disorders including Asperger’s Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Nostrant says that many people think Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) prompts eloping, but that is not always the case.

“There are so many things that cause elopement and wandering,” said Nostrant.

Nostrant says the difference between an elopement and running away has to do with timing.

“Running away is something that a child normally in their teens they plan it out,” said Betty. “With kids like David, this is split second,” said Nostrant.

She says these cases are concerning because half of the children with ASD are reported to elope.

And the CDC says one in four of those children are in danger of drowning or going into traffic.

“All it takes is going to the bathroom or doing dishes, you know, turn around to do one dish. And that’s it,” said Nostrant.   

David is not the only one, the Lansing Police Department had more than 100 missing person cases in 2022.

Some of those include elopements involving children, and older individuals with conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Nostrant says the best way to help these individuals is through education and awareness.

“We all have to learn from each other and help each other and help these kids to get through this,” said Betty.

David was found safe and sound yesterday after an adult saw him alone, asking David for his mom’s number and then calling her.

Nostrant says they do have trackers and other things in place to keep David safe, but she appreciates all the help from the community.

Betty Nostrant also says she hopes there are more programs created in the community put into place to help young children who are experiencing similar things as her son David.