ST. LOUIS- A Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper was honored yesterday for his investigative work after finding a malnourished boy in St. Charles County last May.

Trooper Esteban Reynoso was named October Department of Public Safety Sworn Employee of the month. He attended a ceremony yesterday where he received a plaque.

According to Department of Public Safety (DPS), at the end of a midnight shift on May 2, Reyonso responded to a call for a pedestrian in the road and found a 12-year-old-boy walking in a remote area near the St. Charles – Warren County line.

Reyonso noticed the boy had several bruises and asked if he had been abused. He denied it.

The DPS says Reyonso had recently received training in a program where the Patrol teaches members to identify signs of potential abuse and establish a rapport with victims.

Reyonso worked to build trust with the child who eventually opened up and began to share that his father and stepmother physically abused him.

The DPS says the boy told Reyonso he escaped only because his parents forgot to handcuff him to his bed that day.

The DPS also reports the boy was malnourished and weighed just 76 pounds when Trooper Reyonso found him. That is about 45 pounds less than he had weighed four months earlier.

Trooper Reynoso’s work led to felony abuse charges against the 12-year-old’s parents.

The DPS posted about it on Facebook, thanking Trooper Reyonso for making a positive difference.