Image: YouTube/Cheyenna Skeltoon

It’s early on a January morning, and the debris of a violent storm litters the streets of Long Island. For 12 hours, authorities have been desperately searching for a missing teenage boy. Then, on a whim, Michael Caputo decides to take a closer look at his backyard shed.

Image: YouTube/Charrua NYC

On January 23, 2017, 16-year-old Joseph Barbella was at home with his family in Franklin Square, a community in Long Island, New York. Sadly, it was a difficult time for the Barbellas. Joseph’s mother was suffering from cancer and was in the process of receiving chemotherapy treatment for her condition.

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Image: NBC New York

As well as illness in the family, the Barbellas also had another challenge to cope with. For all of his life, Joseph has suffered from autism. A complex condition, it can take many forms, although it often manifests itself in difficulty communicating and relating to others.

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