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Fay Jede struggled to contain her emotions Wednesday morning as she mourned the loss of her 4-year-old son, who had autism and was found dead in Minnehaha Creek after wandering away from home. But just as strong as the pain is her resolve to prevent similar tragedies for other families.

"I want a legal change. I don't want us to just move on from this and wait for another incident," Jede said Wednesday in an interview at the Chorus Apartments in Hopkins. She said she'd like to be able to access more Somali-focused services for families raising autistic kids, and lamented that there was no significant barrier between the apartment complex parking lot and the creek that could have prevented her son, Waeys Mohamed, from entering the water.

On the morning of June 10, a volunteer searcher found the body of Waeys Mohamed in Minnehaha Creek. He had been missing for about 28 hours, and was recovered about 500 feet downstream from the apartment complex. Hopkins police called it a tragic accident.

Jede, 24, said she gave birth to Waeys when she was 19, not long after graduating from high school. She described him as energetic and said he had a fascination with water that she believes led him to enter the creek.

"Everyone who worked with him was telling me ... 'We already miss his hugs and his smile,'" Jede said.

Children with autism are much more likely to wander away from home than those without it, and 49% of children with autism attempted to run away at least once after turning 4, according to the nonprofit Autism Society.

Waeys was nonverbal, his mother said, and never once spoke, but had recently started understanding when people were calling his name.

Jede said she rose early on June 9 and was helping her 3-year-old son when she noticed that Waeys was missing from their apartment. Eventually she ran outside to look for him, and instructed a woman on the sidewalk to call police. One apartment resident, Jede claims, saw Waeys leaving the complex Sunday morning and told him to go home but did not bring him farther than the complex's garage.

Jede said she was upset that no one brought her son back to her apartment. "How could you tell a nonverbal 4-year-old to just 'Go home'?" Jede said.

Jede said she asked managers at her apartment complex to install an additional lock like one she had at a previous apartment but was turned down. Representatives of the apartment complex have not returned calls and emails seeking comment.

"There should be law that tells apartment owners who have children with autism or disabilities to let them put something in," Jede said.

Following the tragedy, several nonprofits that assist families of children with autism issued a joint statement mourning Waeys' death and vowing to collaborate on drowning prevention. But Jede said she thinks the organizations need to do a better job at outreach. She said she hadn't heard of them previously.

"When I was really needing help, I never saw all these people saying they help children with autism," she said.

Jede thanked the many community members and agencies that helped look for her son. "Please let Waeys be the last child this happens to," she said.