Observer staff

Union County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in finding a La Grande youth who went missing from his home around 8:30 p.m. Sunday night, according to a press release from UCSO.

The missing subject is 11-year-old Jackson Cox. He is a 5-foot-5, 150-pound African-American with “medium-functioning” autism, according to the release. Cox was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, blue shorts and sandals.

Union County Search and Rescue was activated Sunday evening, and has continued searching Monday. SAR is concentrating on “back yards, outbuildings and river banks,” according to the release. UCSO said it has been advised that Cox may hide from strangers due to his autism, and may not respond well to approaching strangers. If he is seen, call 911. If calling with a tip, call the non-emergency number at 541-963-1017.

Neighbors are asked to carefully search their yards for the youth.

UCSO also has reason to suggest Cox was taken by his mother, Wendy Cox, who doesn’t have lawful custody, according to law enforcement. Wendy Cox has a felony warrant for unrelated charges on file. The sheriff’s office has reason to believe she may be fleeing to California with the boy, possibly in a green 1997 Ford pickup with Oregon license number SL 88471. Wendy Cox, a 51-year-old caucasian female, has a history of behavior that could put Jackson Cox at risk, according to UCSO Captain Craig Ward.

This post has been updated to correct Wendy Cox's age.