Missing transgender teen found, now in ICU at hospital

DENVER --  A transgender teen missing since Friday has been found. He’s in the ICU at Denver Health Medical Center with a long recovery ahead.

The teen’s mother said someone found her son, Scotty Fritzler, unconscious and lying under a red pickup truck on Friday.

The good Samaritan saw the boy having a seizure near South Monroe Street and East Florida Avenue and called 911.

He was taken to the hospital but because he had no ID and no way to speak, he was listed as a John Doe -- all while his family frantically searched for him.

“I was shocked. I wasn’t sure it was really him. There’s been so many false sightings,” his mother, Tessa Fritzler, said.

Fritzler holds tight to her son’s hand in his hospital bed.

“He’s my baby. He’s so unique and just lovable,” Fritzler said.

The 16-year-old went missing from his home near East Yale Avenue and South University Boulevard early Friday morning.

The family believes he left the house about 3 a.m. As hours stretched into days, his mother’s hope of finding her son alive faded fast.

Scotty is transgender, born a female, but now identifies as a male. He struggles with depression, has symptoms of Asperger’s, and his mother said he has been bullied in school but never ran away.

“Depression kind of hides, almost like a cancer of the thoughts. It can be deadly, and it can be unexpected. They can seem completely fine and normal, and the next thing you know they’re gone," she said.

His family discovered a long descriptive and disturbing suicide note in his journal. It referenced bodies of water.

“I looked in the creek, under the bridges, under trees -- everywhere I could think of,” Fritzler said.

Then the unimaginable happened. Medical staff at Denver Health called Tessa on Tuesday morning to say her son was alive and safe.

Doctors removed his breathing tube and he was able to tell them his name. Then they immediately contacted his parents, who rushed to the hospital.

“I almost collapsed to the floor. I went straight to him -- looked at him to make sure it was my baby and it was. I’m very grateful that we got a good ending," Fritzler said.

Scotty is still heavily sedated and not able to talk about what happened. His family plans to have him see a therapist and get psychiatric help down the road.

As he continues to recover, his mother said she’s grateful for everyone in our community who helped search and share his photo on social media.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. That meant so much and I got an overwhelming amount of support I didn’t expect. I was getting messages from as far as Australia and Europe -- people thinking about him globally,” Fritzler said.

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