Autistic Boy Reunited With Missing Pet Iguana
Fred Green Missing For More Than 1 Week
May 10, 2005
IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. -- A 12-year-old autistic boy from Imperial Beach was reunited with his pet iguana Monday afternoon, 10News reported.
The last time Steve Stutzka saw his beloved 3-foot long iguana, Fred Green, was more than a week ago before she -- yes, Fred's a female -- disappeared from the backyard.
The family searched high and low, but to no avail. Stutzka and the rest of the family was heartbroken.
But, on Monday afternoon, the tides turned when three sophomores from Mar Vista High School showed up at Stutzka's house with the iguana.
According to 10News, Nick Alexander, Jonathan Hernandez and Dante Flores were on their lunch break when they saw Fred Green.
"We were coming down the street from school and we (saw) the lizard coming right here. We see it lift up its head, kinda, and my friend Dante was like, 'There's a lizard right there.' And we were like, 'Oh dude, let's go over there and go get it,'" Alexander told 10News.
Capturing the iguana was easier said than done, but luckily a neighbor loaned the boys a towel and soon enough the iguana was caught and on her way home.
Stutzka's mother, Pam Stutzka, couldn't believe her eyes when she saw Fred Green.
"(I was) astonished. Absolutely astonished," said Pam Stutzka.
"I think she was about to cry. She was just like so happy. I felt pretty good because I actually did something nice for once," Hernandez said.
Hundreds of volunteers, including the sheriff's search and rescue crew, helped Stutzka look for his beloved pet iguana, Fred Green.
Sheriff's deputy Mike Forbes used his infrared-heat seeking camera to help find Fred Green, a helicopter searched the grounds from above for the missing iguana and on Monday students from Mar Vista High School volunteered their time to look for the creature.
Pam Stutzka thanked the community for their support.
"We've had calls from Carlsbad, Escondido. I got a call from Ohio," Pam Stutzka said.
The story, which was first posted on 10News.com, soon got national attention. The family received offers from people volunteering to put up reward money.
"I wanted to thank all of San Diego County, especially Imperial Beach. We love our community. The outpouring of everyone's love and prayers -- that's why this happened," Stutzka told 10News. "I didn't have any doubt. This was meant to be. Those boys were the ones that were supposed to find Fred and they did. I just thank you. Thank you for all the prayers and undying affection."
According to 10News, Fred Green was in good condition. The family said in order to prevent losing Fred again, she will be microchipped.