Local News

Missing Fayetteville Teenager Safely Back Home After Biking To Charlotte

Posted March 15, 2004

— Nineteen-year-old Adrienne Jivan "A.J." Hill, who had been missing for a week, was found safe over the weekend and returned to his home.

The autistic teenager just wanted to get away for a while. He took his fascination with maps to a new level, traveling from his home in Cumberland County to Charlotte and back.

Police found him in Robeson County Saturday night as he was on his way back home.

Hill, who has the mental capacity of an 11-year-old, took off without permission a week ago.

"I went to Charlotte," he said.

Hill did not go by car, by train or by bus. He rode his bicycle, pedaling more than 140 miles on his red 10-speed bike. The trip took about 17 hours. He said he stopped to sleep in a garage along the way.

Hill said he likes to read maps, so when he got to Charlotte, he went exploring. He found a local mall -- and when he came back outside, he saw someone had stolen his bicycle.

He spent a few more days touring Charlotte on foot, curling up in a vacant house at night.

When he came back to the house on Friday, somebody had boarded it up. So, he decided to head home.

Hill found another bicycle in a trash bin and began pedaling back. When his tire blew out around Lumberton, he ended up on foot.

"I walked home," Hill said, "past Lumberton, St. Pauls."

Police found Hill in the Robeson County town of St. Pauls Saturday night, recognizing him from TV reports. They brought him home to his mother.

Hill's mother said when it comes to travel, her son has a knack for doing incredible things. She said he could not speak until he was 7, but he could read road signs. She also said he memorized the Division of Motor Vehicles' driver's license manual.

Vickie Hill said her son's bike-riding days are over. The next time he hits the open road, he will be in her car. She also said she plans to get an alarm with a motion sensor, so she will know if her son decides to take off again.

Vickie Hill said her son decided to head back home because "he missed his radio and his TV."

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