The mother of a 19-year-old man with autism who was found dead on a school bus Friday night — possibly after being left there all day — was looking for answers, and said she hasn’t heard from the school or the bus company since his death.
In an interview on Monday, Eun Ha Lee told KTLA she was devastated over the loss of her son, Hun Joon Lee.
“My boy is a very, very precious boy,” she said. “I don’t know other people, how they think about my son, but my son is perfect to me.”
Lee was picked up Friday at 8 a.m. by a bus, operated by “Pupil Transportation,” to attend Sierra Vista Adult School, according to his mother and the Whittier Police Department.
When he didn’t return home from school at the usual time of 3:30 p.m., she became concerned and called the bus company. Lee then contacted her son’s teacher to find out his whereabouts when they did not pick up.
After being told he was absent, a frantic Lee — who saw her son off to school that morning — rushed down to the adult school, calling Whittier police on her way.
At that point, school and bus personnel began looking for the missing teenager, who was initially described as a student with special needs. Lee said her son had autism, and had the mental capacity of a 3-year-old.
A short time later, she said police delivered the grim news that he had been found deceased on the bus.
“A police officer came to me, and then they said, ‘We found him. He passed away,'” she said.
He was discovered in the aisle of the bus, Lee said. She described him as being non-verbal, and said as a result he wouldn’t have been able to call out for help.
Lee questioned how he could’ve been left behind, as there were only three other students on the bus that morning.
“I feel like, we are nothing,” she said. “They killed my son. Technically, they killed my son.”
The driver has already been questioned.
It was not immediately clear how long Lee had been on the bus, but on Friday, police were investigating the possibility that he had been left on it the entire day. A cause of death was still not known.
The teen was the center of the family, and his devastated parents were dealing with how to cope with their son’s death.
“We don’t know how we can live further without him,” his grief-stricken mother said.
A GoFundMe fundraising page has been set up in the Lee’s memory. As of late Tuesday morning, it had surpassed its goal of raising $10,000 for the victim’s family by more than $20,000.