ENGLISHTOWN — It took all of 17 minutes, but could have been much longer if not for the quick response and diligent work of borough police officers to find an autistic, 8-year-old girl who went missing late Monday afternoon.

The child had been missing from the Stamford Square Apartments for five minutes when the call came in to the Englishtown Police Department around 5:40 p.m., according to the department's Facebook post Monday night.

Chief Peter Cooke and three other officers were dispatched to the scene and requested assistance from Manalapan police and the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit upon arrival, the Facebook post said.

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The officers were told by the child's guardian, identified by police as her grandmother, that the girl was a participant in "Project Lifesaver," a bracelet or anklet device that transmits a radio frequency able to be tracked by law enforcement.

Englishtown police said that Chief Cooke, using his autism training, then recalled that autistic people can sometimes be drawn to bodies of water, and upon searching a nearby stream, found the child naked in the water.

Aside from her state of undress, the Facebook post said, the girl was determined to be unharmed and did not require hospitalization.

Police reported that the child was discovered just 12 minutes after dispatch, wrapping the case up shortly before 6 p.m.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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