A sister of Tykwon Smith, the 16-year-old Leflore County youth who went missing early Monday, is asking for the community’s help in finding him — and others have come together to offer a reward.
“Tykwon is an awesome, awesome kid. He has always been loving and caring and kind of like our man of the house,” said his oldest sister, Kambrika Smith.
Tykwon Smith has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Kambrika Smith said that when he first experienced episodes of paranoia, he exhibited more affection for his family, telling them often that he loved them.
She said he had “never, ever” been away from their mother, Sharnessa Smith, and she believes his state of mind has been altered by his schizophrenia.
“We think that something is telling him that we are dangerous,” she said. “And I think that he wants to be found, but those personalities or those thoughts in his head are telling him that we’re the problem, but we’re not.”
Tykwon Smith, a student at Amanda Elzy High School, was brought to Greenwood Leflore Hospital’s emergency department around 10 p.m. Sunday to be treated for a paranoid episode. It was at the hospital where Smith was diagnosed with schizophrenia, his sister said.
While he was in in the emergency department, he overheard health care workers talk from outside the open door to his room about administering a shot to sedate him, she said.
She said she was not with her brother the night of his hospital visit but was able to recount the experience based on what she was told by her mother, who was there.
When the hospital employees walked into Smith’s room, he fled, since the door was still open, she said. He left the hospital around 2:30 a.m., she said.
Kambrika Smith said that in her brother’s bouts of paranoia, he “goes in and out with himself.” She said anyone who comes across him should tell him that “his mother is searching for him and she loves him and she needs him.”
She said that based on exterior surveillance camera footage from the hospital, the last clothing her brother was seen wearing included a blue T-shirt.
The temperature in Greenwood around the time Smith fled the hospital was around 20 to 22 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. That means Smith was at risk for hypothermia and frostbite.
In a statement, the hospital said, “Our hearts go out to the family of Tykwon Smith during this stressful time. We are assisting in every way that we can.”
Larry “Kite” Johnson and his wife, Freddie White-Johnson, who have known the Smith family for years, have sponsored a $1,000 reward for finding Tykwon Smith. Sammy Foster, a former hospital board member, and Mildred Wilson-Moore, a retired Greenwood High School teacher, have also pitched in.
“My heart breaks. I promise you, my heart breaks,” White-Johnson said. “We are very, very close to this family.”
“When your neighbor hurts, you should hurt,” White-Johnson said. “You should reach out and provide whatever assistance in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s what God would want us to do — to help.”
Larry Johnson added, “We thought it was only the right thing to do to help out, and if somebody knew something, perhaps they would come forward, because it has to be the greatest nightmare of any parent, a child missing.”
Smith, who is Black, is about 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs about 140 pounds. Anyone with information on his whereabouts may call the Leflore County Sheriff’s De-partment at 453-5141, the Police Department at 453-3311 or White-Johnson at 392-5458 for the reward.
•Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.