Autistic teen drowned in Elizabeth River

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on August 22, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 23 at 5:54 PM

PORTSMOUTH-The body of a 15-year-old autistic boy was recovered from the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth Thursday evening.

The four-hour search for Gary Lynn Faulkner took place near the Clifford Street Bridge, in the City Park area.

It started around 2:00 p.m. and authorities closed the bridge as dive teams from the Norfolk Police Dept and the U.S. Coast Guard joined the search.

Portsmouth Police spokeswoman Misty Holley said the mud made it difficult for rescue teams.

"Right here at the center of the bridge, it's about five-and-a-half feet, but it gets about 20 feet. The further out you go, it's a little more shallow and deeper. So it's just so uneven on the bottom because of all the mud and the rock," Holley said.

Alicia Boone said she saw three boys playing by a trestle around 10:30 a.m.

"I wish I would've rode over there and talked to the boys or something. I wish I would've been like 'hey, get away from over there.' I feel sick because of it," she said.

Faulkner's brother Robert says Gary was bullied by kids at school. Kids would call him names because of the way he acted, looked and how he talked.

A friend said Faulkner had a passion for bikes.

"He was nice, he was generous. I'm pretty sure he'd give you his shirt off his back if he had to," said Brandon Hersey.

Robert Faulkner said his brother was autistic, and was bullied frequently. He is questioning why his brother died. "I have been told multiple stories, and nothing is adding up."

The Faulkner family has set up a fund at BB&T bank, under Janine Faulker, to help cover the funeral costs.

An autopsy will be done to determine what caused his death. Friday, police said his death has been classified as a suspicious death and is being investigated by homicide detectives.

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