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Who Is Marissa Wilkerson? Details About The Missing Girl With Asperger's Found A Week Later

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Who Is Marissa Wilkerson? Details About Missing Child With Aspergers

A young girl who went missing on Sunday, Mar. 3 has been found.

The Fresno police reported on Monday that Marissa Wilkerson was found. They did not release any other information as of Tuesday. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Marissa was born on Dec. 28, 2005, and is 13 years old. She is biracial, as she is Hispanic and Black. The Fresno Bee reported that the seventh grader was last seen early in the day on Mar. 3 at home

The issue of missing children is a nationwide epidemic, as the center said there were over 424,000 reports of missing children to law enforcement in 2018. The 24-hour hotline for the organization is 1-800-843-5678. The Fresno Bee reported about missing children and human trafficking in 2016 and 2017. The Fresno police Sgt. Curt Chastain told the newspaper that about 2,700 to 3,000 children run away from home in the city. He said at least 10 to 12 percent of those children are lured into human trafficking.

“I’d bet every 16-year-old girl in Fresno has received a message that they didn’t know was from a recruiter,” a detective told the Bee in 2017.

Marissa was one of the four children to go missing over the span of about a week in Fresno. She was found safe, however, around the same time another boy was found.

So who is Marissa Wilkerson? Below are details about Marissa Wilkerson, one of the hundreds of thousands of children that go missing, and her week-long disappearance.

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1. Marissa has Asperger’s syndrome.

According to Psychology Today, Asperger’s syndrome (AS) is an autism spectrum disorder. Two out of every 10,000 children are estimated to have the disorder; and while boys are more likely to be diagnosed than girls, it is possible girls with AS are overlooked or misdiagnosed.

The syndrome is “marked by impaired social interactions and limited repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities.” As a syndrome on the autism spectrum, it’s considered by many to be a form of high functioning autism. Asperger’s is most closely associated with difficulty with social skills: symptoms include abnormal verbal and nonverbal communication, inability to return social or emotional feelings, and failure to develop and maintain peer relationships.

Marissa’s mother, Elizabeth Romero, talked to the Bee about it and how it may have had something to do with her disappearance.

“She’s very vulnerable,” Romero said. “If you give her attention, she’s willing to do anything you ask, so I don’t know if someone is taking advantage of that fact.”

Romero also added that her daughter suffers from depression as well.

2. Her mother found a note on Sunday afternoon.

Marissa was still home when Romero left for work at Whole Foods Market at 5 a.m. on Sunday. Then she came home at 1:45 p.m. Marissa was not there.

There was a note that was signed from her daughter, but was not in Marissa’s handwriting.

According to Romero, the note said, “I’m not missing I’m going to a friend’s,” and to “chill out,” which was not a phrase Romero ever heard her daughter use.

3. Marissa did not leave with much.


A post shared by Elizabeth (@simplyme.always) on Mar 4, 2019 at 10:00am PST

According to the Bee’s article, Marissa disappeared along with her mother’s Nike flip flop shoes. She also took a white Acer Chromebook laptop.

Aside from that, Romero wasn’t sure what her daughter might have been wearing, or what else she might have taken since she was at work when Marissa left. Romero did not know where she might have been, or with whom her daughter could have been.

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4. Marissa posted on social media while she was missing.

There was a post made to Marissa’s Instagram account four days after she went missing. It was taken down shortly after it was posted.

Romero described what her daughter wrote on the post: “She just says she’s with a friend and that she’s safe … It doesn’t even sound like her talking. She’s spelling everything out instead of with all the abbreviations.” It ended with, “I can’t take anymore questions.”

Marissa’s name on the account also kept changing.

Romero was stumped by her daughter’s behavior. “This whole situation is weird. … She’s a good kid and this just isn’t like her. It’s literally just me and her and we’re very close.”

5. People from around the world pitched in to help find Marissa.

Marissa may have been briefly active on social media, but many others posted about her. Romero took to Instagram throughout the week, often posting the same missing child poster to her account.

Activists also took to social media to report about the missing girl. Australian Disability tweeted about her.

An autistic mother also took to Twitter to tweet about Marissa being found.

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Alison Cerri is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.