Care Giver Arrested After Taking Off With Autistic Man

September 27, 2013 Updated Apr 5, 2010 at 7:21 PM EDT

By Laura Gray

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September 27, 2013 Updated Apr 5, 2010 at 7:21 PM EDT

Amherst, NY (WKBW) -- Amherst Police are interviewing care giver Michael Donnelly to find out where he took an autistic man overnight. They also want to know how three men ended up driving a company owned van. Finally, how did Donnelly and the man in his care end up at a Buffalo church Monday morning.

As a care giver for the non-profit People Inc, 40 year old Michael Donnelly of Buffalo was supposed to take 38 year old Antonio to lunch Sunday on Transit Road. The two were then supposed to enjoy the day at the park.

Antonio has lived in a group home for 10 years and suffers from severe autism. He also suffers from seizures, and takes medicine several times a day. So when the two didn't return Sunday afternoon, Amherst police were notified. "We were looking all night for the missing men. This morning we received a call from an acquaintance of (Donnelly's) that he works with, that he was at a church in Buffalo needing a ride back." says Lt. Joseph LaCorte of the Amherst Police Department.

Amherst police found both men at Saint John Kanty on Broadway Avenue Monday before noon. Police found the People Inc. van they had been riding in a few blocks away. Three men in their 20s were arrested and charged with possession of stolen property and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Lt. LaCorte says they were found around the same time as Donnelly and Antonio. "I don't know what the connection is, if he gave to van to them, or traded it, or sold it, or lost it."

Donnelly was taken into police custody while Antonio was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

Police don't believe that Donnelly hurt Antonio in any way. Donnelly is facing felony charge of grand larceny. He is also facing a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a disabled person. He'll be arraigned Tuesday morning in Amherst.