Family of girl with autism: 'She radiated light'

10:37 PM, Jun 1, 2011   |    comments
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  • Police need help to find a missing autistic girl
  • Police need help to find a missing autistic girl
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  • Police need help to find a missing autistic girl
  • "Our daughter was a wonderful child. We loved her very much," Serguei Vlassenko said in Russian. "The main reason why I moved here is to help Kristina get better. Unfortunately, in Russia we couldn't be helped, even though we asked a lot of institutions, even went to Moscow we went to many doctors. But they couldn't help. When we had a chance to move to America, we took advantage of the opportunity."

    They say 10-year-old Kristina was happy here. In Russia, she could only stay at home. In Arvada, she went to school, had lots of professional help her parents say.

    "Here we get everything we need so that the child can have a normal life and grow," Serguei Vlassenko said.

    Monday, Vlassenko said he was at a relative's home, getting some supplies to make their fence taller. Kristina liked to jump on the trampoline and would often throw things over to the neighbor's yard. The family wanted to put a stop to that.

    Vlassenko says his daughter vanished in just a split second. She disappeared around 3:30 p.m. on Monday. The family searched for her. They called police. Officers, volunteers and strangers helped look for her.

    After searching into the early morning hours, dreading someone was holding onto their little girl, possibly doing terrible things to her, they came up empty.

    Tuesday morning, the family saw TV reports about a body found at a construction site. Then police called.

    Vlassenko says Kristina was found in a pool of water as deep as 8 feet.

    Wednesday, the Jefferson County Coroner's office said preliminary reports indicate Kristina drowned by accident.

    How she got into the construction site, her father doesn't know. How and why she fell into the water, is a mystery as well.

    Vlassenko says his daughter couldn't sit still, but never wandered far away. If somehow she'd get out of the front door of the house, they'd always find her right in the front yard.

    She was wearing a tracking bracelet and Vlassenko says it still worked when police found his little girl.

    "When they took her out of the water, the bracelet was working. As a police officer told us, if the bracelet is on the ground level, you can detect the person for 75 feet, but if it's below ground level, it doesn't work. Or 2 feet under water," Vlassenko said.

    The hows and whys may eventually be answered, but right now, this family is trying to figure out how to go on, with the reason for being here gone.

    "Kristina was a very bright child, anyone who met her, even if she didn't communicate affection, still people loved to have contact with her," Vlassenko said. "She radiated light and warmth, look at her picture and you can tell she's a warm person."

    The family has four other children, 19 and 14-year-old sons, and 17 and 4-year-old daughters. They all took care and loved Kristina.

    If you would like to help this family with Kristina's funeral arrangements, you can donate to Chase Bank for Kristina. The account number is: 976996207. You can also visit

    Vlassenko says the family is very grateful to many people in the community who helped Kristina over the years.

    The family wanted to thank the schools Kristina attended in Jefferson County, Sierra and Fremont Elementary Schools, Rocky Mountain Autism Center and the Arvada Police Department for their help.

    (KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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