[Updated at 4:27 p.m. ET] An autistic boy whose disappearance in a Virginia park five days ago prompted a search with thousands of volunteers was found alive Friday afternoon at a nearby quarry, authorities said.
Robert Wood Jr., 8, was found lying down but alert in a creek bed at a quarry near the 80-acre North Anna Battlefield Park, Hanover County Sheriff David Hines told reporters at a news conference.
The boy was flown by helicopter to a hospital, where he was reunited with his family. Hines said he didn’t know Robert’s medical condition, but the boy appeared to be “in good shape.”
“Whenever a child goes missing, everyone wants to step up. And that’s happened today,” Hines said.
Robert had wandered from his father at the park on Sunday. Robert, his father, Robert's younger brother and his father’s girlfriend were hiking at the park, which is in Doswell, Virginia, according to CNN affiliate WTVR.
The child was found less than a mile from where he was last seen, Hines said.
Robert is autistic and does not speak, which complicated the search, according to WTVR.
About 6,000 volunteers played some role in the search since Sunday, along with about 300 professional searchers in the park and surrounding areas, Hanover County authorities said.
Hines said the person who found Robert was “a citizen”; it wasn’t clear whether the person was a volunteer.
Asked whether investigators believed the boy had been at the spot for a long time, Hines answered that searchers had scoured the same area previously.
“I don’t think we walked past him. We're just thankful that we was located,” Hines said.
Hines praised the thousands of people who volunteered.
“We had to turn volunteers away, not because we didn’t want their service, ... (but) we just couldn’t support their service. And that’s been a great thing,” he said.