Paramedics’ Gut Instincts Lead to Identification of Missing Teen

When responding to the scene of a call, Wake County EMS staff are hyper-focused on the task at hand – providing top-notch care. But two paramedics recently demonstrated how the job doesn’t stop once the emergency is over.

On October 30, a call came in about a teenager wandering the streets in north Raleigh. Paramedics Nicholas Naylor and Rick Reynoso responded along with law enforcement. After treating and transporting the patient to the emergency department at WakeMed Health & Hospitals, something didn’t sit right with Naylor and Reynoso.

“I have studied about human trafficking, an issue so great around our area, this nation and the world,” Naylor said. “Immediately, when we began to assess this situation, red flags were raised.”

They searched the patient’s name online — and up popped a tweet from a police department in another state. The patient had been reported missing.

“Things just didn’t match up as we were talking to her,” said Reynoso. “Here she is, eight hours from home with no family nearby. I would’ve been very worried if it was my kid, and I’d want people to follow up to be sure she was okay.”

Naylor and Reynoso advised the hospital about the situation, and hospital staff were able to contact the patient’s family. The teenager has been discharged to the care of a relative.

“Our EMS professionals are committed to serving our community, and they go above and beyond every day,” said Dr. Jose Cabañas, Wake County EMS director/medical director. “During these unprecedented times, there are a lot of demands on public safety providers. It’s important to take the time to listen to your instincts. As we’ve seen in this case, it can really make a difference.”

Naylor and Reynoso both joined Wake County EMS in 2017.

“This has been a challenging year for everyone, especially with the holidays approaching,” Cabañas said. “The dedication and care shown by our local first responders is something we can all be thankful for.”

Press Release