The family of a severely autistic teen found dead on a school bus says he may have been left there for up to nine hours on Friday, one of Southern California's hottest days of the summer, Fox News reports. The mother of Hun Joon Lee, a 19-year-old special needs student who also went by Paul, called the Sierra Education Center when her son's caregiver reported he wasn't dropped off as usual around 3:30 that afternoon. Police found him lying unresponsive in the aisle of a bus parked in a Whittier school district parking lot, and he was declared dead after resuscitation attempts failed, NBC Los Angeles reports. His family says a different driver than usual had picked the teen up around 8:30 that morning and that they believe Lee, who can't speak, likely waited on the bus the whole day for instructions after being forgotten, per Fox.
"Inside the bus was about 120 to 130 degrees fahrenheit and Paul was trapped in there for almost 9 hours without a single drop of water," a woman who IDed herself as his older sister wrote on the GoFundMe page set up for the family, which has raised nearly $14,000 she says will go toward funeral expenses. "My family is completely torn apart and heart broken, knowing what he had felt during those painful hours. We are hit so hard with this sudden tragedy." Meanwhile, a family friend tells NBC, "How do you forget a big boy and just leave him in the bus? It was a small bus." The station notes it's undetermined if the bus company is required to do head counts. (A mother was charged with leaving her kids in a hot car … while in court for charges of leaving her kids in a hot car.)