The body of 11-year-old Harmony Kizer Thompson was discovered in Rocky Mountain Lake two hours after she went missing from her north Denver home, a park which she had never been to before.
“It was so difficult to keep my baby safe because she always wanted to leave. I’m sorry,” her mother Asia Kizer Thompson said.
Little Harmony was one of those kids who loved entertaining, her grandma’s phone, shoes and birthday parties.
Her mother told us, like many kids with autism, Harmony was constantly on the move. Kizer Thompson’s other child also has autism.
Harmony’s family tried to watch her 24 hours a day. Her mother had taken a 30-minute nap and then discovered her missing at five in the morning and began frantically searching for the child.
Her grandmother Jacqueline Kizer said Harmony was fast. Very fast.
“I could see her standing right here and I’d do like this and she’d be gone,” Kizer said.
The child ended up a mile and a half away from her home.
“The crazy part is we never went to that park because I know that big lake is right there. I would never take her there,” Harmony’s mother said.
One theory is her photographic memory may have helped her remember passing by the park in the past.
The family is speaking out to help other families caring for loved ones with autism know the dangers. Getting help can be difficult, especially in underserved communities.
“It’s something that’s difficult when it comes to treatment because it is true the more resources you have the more likely you are to get that treatment,” Firefly Autism CEO Amanda Kelly said.
“In Colorado specifically, the CDC indicates that 1 in 88 white children are identified with autism, and 1 in 109 black children are identified with autism,” Kelly said.
Harmony’s family struggled to get help. She was looking forward to going into the sixth grade. Instead, now her family is planning her funeral.
They are hoping to have a balloon release at Rocky Mountain Lake for her this weekend.