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Illinois Youngster ‘Sleepwalks’ 100 Miles

April 28, 1987

PERU, Ind. (AP) _ A barefoot 11-year-old boy whose mother says he sleepwalks was discovered walking along railroad tracks near Peru early Tuesday - nearly 100 miles from his Illinois home.

Michael Lamont Dixon remembers nothing of his trip, said police in Peru, a city of 15,000 people north of Indianapolis.

″Supposedly, he hopped a freight and wound up here in Peru,″ said Police Chief Bill Page. ″He woke up, got off and thought he was still in Danville.″

″He was having a nightmare and he went sleepwalking. He sleepwalks, but he has never gone outside before,″ said Michael’s mother, Dorthea Dixon.

Mrs. Dixon said she had assumed Michael, one of seven children, was in bed asleep until she received a telephone call from Peru authorities.

″I’m taking him to the doctor today,″ she said in a telephone interview. ″He sleepwalks, but I didn’t know it could be dangerous until now. This is my first real experience with something like this.″

All Michael remembered after going to bed was dreaming about being chased and running into a closet, said Pamela Smith, a caseworker with the Miami County Welfare Department. She said he told her he had some dizzy spells Monday, and did not recall getting on or off the train.

″When he apparently became cognizant of what was happening, he thought he was still in Danville,″ she said. ″He lives near railroad tracks. The tracks were generally off limits to him; he was not allowed to play around them.″

The boy was spotted by a Norfolk and Southern Railway crewman whose train was pulling out of Peru. Railroad officials notified police, who found Michael about 2:45 a.m. just east of the city.

After questioning the youngster, police determined that he lived in Danville and called his mother, who came to pick him up.

Mrs. Smith said Michael was in good condition and in good health.

″He was dirty, barefoot. He had a pair of twill pants and a T-shirt. No coat, no shoes, no socks. No other type of protective clothing. He was alert and responsive. He was a very quiet young man,″ she said.

″We see all types of things, but this is the first one where the child had no recollection or understanding of how he got from point A to point B,″ Mrs. Smith said. ″We don’t know what the circumstances are back in Danville, but there is no evidence of abuse or neglect.″

County health nurse Aletha Hartleroad cleaned the boy’s feet and tended cuts on them.

Mrs. Smith said people at the courthouse provided clothing while Michael waited for his mother. ″It was very thoughtful and generous of them. They were all so touched by this situation,″ she said.

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