Woman with autism who went missing in Round Rock found safe


ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — The family of a woman who went missing in Round Rock says she was found inside a car at the apartment complex that she lives in on Sunday. 

She was found in the parked vehicle around 3:30 p.m. while officers were canvassing the residences in the 1200 block of Old Settlers Blvd. Henderson was found in the same apartment complex and within sight of the place where she was last seen. 

Residents at the complex explained to KXAN that they were stopping to check on a car that had been flagged for removal– one that hadn’t been driven in several days. Those residents said they noticed items in the car had all been moved up to the passenger seat, then they noticed someone moving inside. 

They said law enforcement officers on scene came to look and found Tonia Henderson inside. 

Thanks to all Round Rock residents for keeping an eye out, helping to spread the word, praying, and offering to do whatever was needed, said Round Rock Police Commander Jim Stuart. It was inspiring to see Round Rock neighbors and regional law enforcement agencies come together to return Tonia to her family.

Round Rock Police say they aren’t sure yet how long Henderson was in the vehicle or how she got there– those are matters they are still investigating.  Because she is unable to talk, she can’t give her account of what happened. 

Her family had been preparing for a massive search effort in the neighboring communities, they had just printed several thousand fliers to hand out. 

Tonia was found today just in a random SUV that was tagged for pickup in our apartment complex, said Cortney Henderson, Tonia’s sister, on Sunday. While all the details still are unknown, what we can say is she is home safe, she has been reunited with us, we are so grateful, thankful for the help and for everyone who assisted in our search — by handing out fliers, by reaching out with just positive words, for the families stopping by handing us food.  The humanity we’ve received from this community is truly special.

It’s a blessing and we are so grateful to have our baby home, she added. She also thanked the Round Rock Police Department for their diligence in looking for her sister. 

Cortney explained that her sister was taken to the hospital for evaluation, and though Tonia was a little dehydrated and confused, she is doing well.  

But Cortney is perplexed about how Tonia ended up in the car at the apartment complex parking lot. She explained that her sister knows which cars belong to her family and only goes into those. 

The car Tonia was in smelled of urine, but it’s unclear how long she was inside for. 

Cortney Henderson explained that police had gone door-to-door at the complex searching for her sister and had already done multiple searches with K9 units of the cars in the parking lot before her sister was found. 

The placement of where she was found in comparison to where she went missing was very close in proximity and very sketchy, in my heart of hearts I truly believe my sister was not in the car the last two days, Cortney Henderson said. In my heart of hearts I believe she was put in that car just recently, but I won’t complain, because she’s home, she’s in one piece.

Round Rock Police officers put out a missing persons alert for Tonia Henderson, 27, last Friday. She was last seen near Old Settlers Boulevard and Mesa Park Drive

According to the city’s police officials, a Texas Search and Rescue helicopter began circling the area. The more than 48-hour search involved the effort of numerous other agencies and resources, including Texas Search and Rescue helicopters and boats, an Austin Police helicopter, a Williamson County drone, Georgetown and Cedar Park Fire Departments, Round Rock Emergency Management, Williamson County Emergency Services and multiple K9 units, including one from the Hutto Police Department.

Police encouraged residents to check any storage sheds and small structures on their property because Tonia likes closed in spaces.

She is in good condition on Sunday and her family tells KXAN she is being evaluated at a hospital. 

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