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  • Writer's pictureApril Odendahl

Heartbreaking Loss: 6-Year-Old Marcel Traore Found in Lynch Cove

This weekend, the entire Autism community grieved the tragic loss of Marcel Traore, a 6yearold with Autism who wandered away from home and was reported missing early Friday morning. He was found in the waters of Lynch Cove in Dundalk. Marcel was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The Autism Society of Maryland sends its deepest sympathies to his family on this unimaginable loss. 

The Real Dangers of Wandering

Sadly, this underscores the real dangers that exist when a child elopes or wanders. Wandering is a common issue that many individuals and families in the Autism community face. Because of the potentially dangerous outcomes, wandering is a critical safety concern for the Autism community. It can be a stressful and anxietyinducing experience for both the individual and their family. It is something the Autism Society of Maryland focuses on in its trainings for lifeguards, pool managers, swim instructors, park rangers, recreation staff, and others in the community.

Those who wander are at increased risk of accidents, injuries, or drowning. Approximately 91% of deaths in children with Autism under 14 are caused by accidental drownings subsequent to wandering. 

The Emotional Toll

Stress and anxiety about wandering have the potential to impact daily life for individuals with Autism and their families. Constant vigilance, worry, or fear can be emotionally exhausting. Ongoing fear and worry about safety can impact a family’s ability or desire to engage in community activities or outings, contributing to social isolation. 

Whether you are the parent of a child who has eloped, a family member, educator, provider, or part of the greater community, we feel it is imperative to take this moment to educate all of us about wandering and what can be done to prevent a similar tragedy. Below are some resources that you may find helpful. We will be providing additional ones in the coming weeks. Should you or someone you know need support or training on wandering and water safety or information on where to get swimming lessons for your child, please contact our office at 4102903466 or

 Resources for Preventing Wandering and Ensuring Safety

Project Lifesaver: Provides tracking devices for children who are at risk of wandering.

National Autism Association’s Big Red Safety Box: A toolkit for families to help prevent wandering.

Swim Lessons and Water Safety Programs: Contact your local YMCA or community pool for information on swim lessons tailored for children with Autism.

Training for Community Members: The Autism Society of Maryland offers training for various community members, including lifeguards, swim instructors, and park rangers, to better understand and respond to wandering incidents.

In memory of Marcel, let us all strive to create a safer environment for individuals with Autism. Together, we can raise awareness and take proactive steps to prevent future tragedies.

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