Montgomery Co. school worker charged with failing to report students missing

WASHINGTON — A Montgomery County Public Schools paraeducator was arrested and charged with two counts of neglect of a minor Wednesday after he was accused of failing to provide supervision and to initially report two 16-year-old students as missing.

Alfredo Lopez, 59, of Gaithersburg, worked at Rock Terrace High School, in Rockville, in a supervisory position when two students, with autism and an intellectual and developmental disability, separately walked away from the school on Monday.

In both cases, Lopez did not immediately notify school staff members that either student was missing, even though Lopez saw the first student leaving the school and lost sight of the second student, Montgomery County police said.

Both students were eventually reported as missing to the police and were found safe later in the day.

Montgomery County police officers said they determined that Lopez saw the first boy walk away from the school at 9:52 a.m., but didn’t notify the school until 12:40 p.m., and only then after a relative of the student called the school to say that he or she would be picking him up that day, officers said.

The student was then reported as missing to police, and officers responded to the school around 12:50 p.m. The student was returned home after a school bus driver saw him walking on Ridge Road at Sweepstakes Drive, in Damascus, around 1:51 p.m.

Officers also determined that Lopez was responsible for supervising another 16-year-old nonverbal student when he lost sight of him and failed to immediately report him as missing to administrators. School surveillance video showed the student left the school through the front door around 2:53 p.m.

Police went back to the school for the report of the second missing student around 3 p.m., and officers, including K-9 officers, immediately began searching for him. They were notified around 6:11 p.m. by the student’s family that he was home.

The student had walked approximately six miles in inclement weather to his house in the Glenmont area, officers said.

Officers obtained a warrant for Lopez on Tuesday and arrested him Wednesday. He was released on his own recognizance, police said.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2018 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.