Women Share Story After Helping Find Missing 9-Year-Old 40 Miles From Home

Dec 19, 2019, 7:07 PM | Updated: Dec 20, 2019, 7:31 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Two women who helped find a missing 9-year-old boy after he approached them at a downtown Salt Lake City TRAX station said they’re grateful he made it home safely.

“This little boy approached Catie and asked for money,” said Lana Atwood who was with her sister-in-law Catie Paulsen and their families when they bumped into 9-year-old Orson Bergeron at the City Creek TRAX station Wednesday night.

“I kind of looked around to see if there were other people – homeless people or whatnot – that were having him go ask for money, but there wasn’t anyone,” Atwood said.

The women said they were heading home after visiting Temple Square’s Christmas lights.

“He was on the platform, we were waiting for the next train,” said Catie Paulsen.

It was just after 7 p.m. and realizing the boy was alone, the women said another bystander jumped in to help them figure out where the boy’s family was.

“The three of us were asking him questions, asking where his parents were,” Atwood said.

“I said, ‘What do you need money for?’ He said, ‘I need money to get on the train to get a ticket,’ and I said, ‘Well where are your parents?’ He said, ‘They’re not here but they gave me permission,’” Paulsen said.

The women said the boy refused to tell them who his parents were and insisted they knew where he was and gave him permission to be out. They said the boy told them he was on his way to visit his relatives but didn’t know where they lived.

“We just knew something was wrong, it just felt off,” Paulsen said. “It was scary.”

Feeling something was off, the women said they followed the boy onto the next train with their families.

“He jumped on, so we all jumped on with him to make sure he wasn’t alone,” Paulsen and Atwood explained.

While Paulsen sat with the boy, Atwood said she pulled out her phone and called 911.

“Right when I gave them the description they knew exactly who he was,” Atwood said.

Atwood said Utah Transit Authority police met them a few stops later and took custody of the minor.

Orson Bergeron, who has special needs and was diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder, was last seen after coming home from school around 4 p.m. on Wednesday near Main Street and 630 North in Vineyard, according to Utah County Sheriff’s Office officials.

The boy’s parents reported him missing around 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to UCSO Sergeant Spencer Cannon.

Cannon said the boy left home without permission. Deputies suspect he walked two miles along the train tracks to the Orem FrontRunner station in Orem where he purchased a ticket, boarded a train and eventually ended up in downtown Salt Lake City where he approached Atwood and Paulsen.

“He showed us his two train stubs that he had taken a TRAX train from Orem to Layton, and then he had another one that showed him getting transferred to Salt Lake,” Paulsen said.

Considering the dangers he faced, Atwood and Paulsen said they’re grateful Bergeron made it home safely.

“It’s scary to think how long he could’ve been wandering, and how much longer he could’ve been wandering and maybe gotten hurt if we weren’t there. It makes me emotional. I couldn’t sleep all last night thinking about it, just really grateful,” Paulsen said.

Cannon said the boy reported that he was heading to the nearby Megaplex Theatres when he left his home but changed his mind along the way and decided to visit family in West Valley City, walking instead to the FrontRunner station. Cannon did not have information on whether the boy had previous experience taking the FrontRunner.

Cannon said officials don’t suspect negligence on behalf of his parents.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

A photo of an old boat harbor by the Great Salt Lake shoreline taken sometime between 1940 and 1960...
Carter Williams, ksl.com

How did Utahns react when the Great Salt Lake hit its previous record low in 1963?

Craig Miller was recently rifling through some old Utah water documents destined to be destroyed when he came across a peculiar set of drawings of the Great Salt Lake sketched nearly 60 years ago.
15 hours ago
FILE: Chick-fil-A restaurant. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)...
Eliza Pace

Utah Chick-fil-A employee praised for paying for family’s wedding catering

MY PLEASURE: A Chick-fil-A employee is being praised after he covered the bill for a wedding when he heard of the challenges the family had faced. 
15 hours ago
KSL TV's Casey Scott with HGTV stars Leslie Davis and Lyndsay Lamb. (Derek Petersen/KSL TV)...
Casey Scott, KSL TV

Casey Scott previews the Deseret News Home Show with ‘Unsellable Houses’ hosts

The Deseret News Home Show kicked off Friday, and we sent Casey Scott to check out everything you need to know to get those latest trends for your home.
15 hours ago
Doves were released at a UVU conference on suicide prevention in honor of lives lost to suicide. (K...
Tamara Vaifanua

1,200 attend UVU suicide prevention and awareness conference

One day, one conference with a lifetime of potential opportunities. That’s how organizers have summed up this year’s suicide prevention conference at Utah Valley University.
15 hours ago
Eliza Pace

Driver who hit 5-year-old visits him in hospital, brings him new bike

The driver who hit a 5-year-old boy wants the public to know "there are decent people out there."
15 hours ago
Ashley Moser

Opposing team offers prayer during game after learning of injured player

Dax Johnson tried his best to push through the pain at youth football practice last week but after heading home that night, he knew something was wrong.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
Women Share Story After Helping Find Missing 9-Year-Old 40 Miles From Home