Man Caught Sexually Assaulting Autistic Boy Who Went Missing Days Before Christmas: Police

A wanted sex offender was arrested last week after allegedly assaulting an autistic boy who had gone missing prior to Christmas.

Ronald Christopher Martin, 47, was arrested on the night of December 27 after being spotted behind a building in South Austin, Texas, by an officer who had been on an unrelated call. Martin was allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy, local news station KXAN reported.

The boy had previously been reported missing in Kentucky about a week before Christmas. He had told family members that he was walking to a local nursing home that he frequently visited to chat with residents, according to Louisville's WLKY. He never arrived at his destination or returned home.

texas sex offender autistic boy
A sex offender was arrested in Texas after being caught with a missing autistic boy in Austin. Shown above is a representational image of police carrying out an arrest. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

WLKY reported last week that the teen is "unusually outgoing and trusting of strangers—a trait his family fears may have led to his disappearance."

"He completely lacks boundaries, so there's no connection for him that someone might not have his best interests at heart," explained a relative. "And if he just sees anything, he's like, 'Oh, let me go be a part of that.'"

Investigators have so far determined that Martin met the teen on social media and conducted a correspondence with him. The teen told police that the man was aware of his age and allegedly solicited nude photographs from him anyway. Martin ultimately traveled across state lines to meet the boy.

Martin is expected to face felony charges following his arrest. He is currently being held at the Travis County jail on a $50,000 bond.

Martin is homeless and had reportedly been living behind the building where he was caught with the boy for at least a year and a half. A friend of his estimated that the teen had been with Martin for one to two weeks. Officers also found an active warrant against Martin for failure to register as a sex offender dating back to 2017.

The teen's family and friends had set up a Facebook page dedicated to finding him.

"Everyone, I am so happy to announce to you all that [he] was found safe tonight by an officer in Texas," the account posted on Tuesday, the day after the teen was found. "We don't know much at this time. This has shown us the power of social media. When a community comes together, change occurs. It has also shown us the power of prayer. The Lord fights for us."

Update 01/04/22, 10:08 a.m. ET: This article was updated to remove the name of the teen in question.