Christina MilliganIt's one of those stories where you don't know whether to cry or cheer. A mother in Sacramento reported her 9-year-old autistic son missing, but when cops showed up to hear her story, they apparently found the boy in a bedroom of her absolutely filthy apartment.

It makes you question Christina Milligan's sanity for sure. How could she not know her child was right there? And what was she doing with him in an apartment that cops say was teeming with cockroaches, dirty diapers, trash scattered around and reeking of urine?

Horrifying. And yet ...

Cops came, didn't they?

They got this poor child out of there. He's now in the hands of Sacramento County Child Protective Services along with his sibling, while his mom is cooling her heels in jail.

It's the happiest ending you can get out of something so awful. This boy was allegedly found soaked in his own urine. And although we don't know where he was on the spectrum, the fact that cops made it a point to tell media that he was autistic means it's highly possible that he didn't have the means, at 9, to get himself out of those clothes or out of that awful situation.

There are many who think kids with autism are more likely to be victims of child abuse because their difficulty with social situations makes them less aware that they should be telling someone of their abuse. And of course kids on the spectrum who are non-verbal or have limited communication skills simply CAN'T tell anyone.

So let's look at this case again. We have a child stuck in squalor with a mother whose mental health or intelligence are questionable at best -- at least when you consider her odd call to police.

Was her call to the cops a blessing in disguise?

 

Image via Sacramento County Sheriff's Department