09/09/2014 09:44 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Homeless Camp Helps Missing Boy With Autism Find His Family

A lost 6-year-old boy found refuge in a homeless encampment and guardian angels in some of its residents.

Sergio Zepeda, who has autism, was found naked and shivering in a makeshift camp near a highway almost a day after he was reported missing from his from his San Jose, California, home, KTVU reported. Due to his autism, Sergio had difficulty communicating what was wrong. Still, the camp's residents were able to come together to get him home.

Jose Salmeron, who lives in the camp, had found the boy wandering through the area early Sunday and offered him food, water and a blanket, while another another resident called 911, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

"We're not heroes," Salmeron, 32, told the news outlet. "It was the only right thing to do. When you see a helpless kid like that, you are supposed to do the right thing, and just call the cops right away. Thank God he didn't get hit by a train, or fall into the water."

By the time police were contacted, Sergio had been missing for about 17 hours, KTVU reported. The San Jose Police, who had been anxiously searching for the boy since his disappearance, said they were grateful for Salmeron and the other residents of the encampment for keeping the boy free from danger.

"They did exactly what needed to be done. They took care of him and called 911. Case closed," San Jose Police Lt. Jason Herr told KTVU.

While Salmeron said that he and his friends were simply doing the right thing, members of the police department wish to nominate him for the Good Samaritan award, and reward him for his good deed, according to KTVU.

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