BROWNSBURG, Ind. (WISH) — It was a tragic end in the search for a missing boy Saturday when Brownsburg police found the body of 8-year-old Shalom Lawson in a pond.
He went missing Friday in Brownsburg where he was visiting family and friends. Shalom Lawson is originally from Louisville, but the Brownsburg community rallied around the Lawsons as the unimaginable happened to them: Their 8-year-old, who has autism and is nonverbal, is gone forever.
They described Shalom as a boy who always smiled and that no one was a stranger to him.
Shalom’s family said it still hasn’t fully set in that their son is gone.
At one point, an ambulance siren went by and Shalom’s mother ran outside wailing, calling for Shalom.
Shalom loved the water but was just learning how to swim.
Friday around 1 p.m. he slipped out of a relative’s home on Watercress Way. First responders were out helping look, along with hundreds of volunteers.
“This family came to visit, and I mean, I can’t imagine what the family is going through right now,” said Mackenzie Wong, who was out searching Saturday morning.
Brownsburg police Capt. Jennifer Barrett told the family they found Shalom’s lifeless body in a nearby pond.
“I think they were in complete disbelief. Anything they may have said was nothing but probably sobs,” she recalled.
It devastated the community.
“I was hoping and praying for the best outcome, that he was somewhere sleeping or playing in the mud or something,” said Wong.
That heartbreak turned to action. Jason Anderson, who runs the food trucks Chefs in Motion: The Kickstand and Basically Buttercream, made food for the volunteers. When they found Shalom, he told customers that proceeds Saturday would go directly to the family. He raised nearly $1,500.
To this food truck vendor, it didn’t matter he never crossed paths with Shalom.
“I have a daughter that’s on the autism spectrum. She’s 16,” he said. “It hit home, and I wanted to help.”
His family has taken notice. They had a message: Thank you to the first responders, the volunteers, the donors from the bottom of their heavy hearts.