Autistic boy found alive days after vanishing at park
Robert Wood Jr., 8, was found Friday, five days after he vanished during a family hike in a Virginia park.
October 28th, 2011
03:35 PM ET

Autistic boy found alive days after vanishing at park

[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.

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Filed under: Virginia
soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. David Compton

    We owe a great debt to all of the people, professional and volunteer, who made finding him possible.
    THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!

    October 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texan

      What great news. Absolutely wonderful news.

      October 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Price

      I am delighted for you and your loved ones....you are truly Blessed

      October 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Maddox

    I am glad this boy was found alive. His family must be ecstatic.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bob Dopico

    GOD BLESS EVERYONE IN YOUR ENTIRE COMMUNITY! You make us all proud, and everyone in the Autism Communtiy thanks you.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John B

    Great ending to a terrible ordeal...let's just hope Nancy Grace didn't have a stroke over this one.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Wilder Napalm

    Wow! Now here is a community that should be very proud of itself. They more than likely saved this child's life.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Towanda

    My eyes are filled with tears. I'm so grateful this child was found – the family, all the volunteers and all the people who were hoping and praying for this outcome are just overjoyed.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. NitPikkr

    "An autistic boy on Friday..." He was only autistic on Fridays?
    I am very happy for him and his family for the happy ending.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AJ

    5 days!!!???!!!! and someone questions if there is a GOD...
    I am honestly happy for him!!! God bless all people who made finding him possible!

    October 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      yeah apparently god didnt want him found before 5 days, he wanted people to suffer a bit first.

      October 28, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh Please

      yeah , the same god that gave him autism and let him get lost for five days should be credited for keeping him alive for 5 days... (rolls eyes) I'd say the credit should go those who kept searching non-stop.

      October 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Price

      Pay no attention to the nay-sayers....God watched over this little boy and kept him safe.
      He is back with his family, alive and well....all that worked so hard are truly Blessed

      October 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Price

      Pay no attention to the nay-sayers....God watched over this little boy and kept him safe.
      He is back with his family, alive and well....all that worked so hard are truly
      what caring is all about

      October 28, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. David Cobbs

    I think this is the greatest post ever made and I will find out more at google.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Debbi

    As a parent of an autistic child, 'wandering' is one of my worst fears. I am so happy this story has a happy ending.

    October 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bo

      Debbi... here is some information for you: Project Lifesaver is a non-profit national organization that provides tracking bracelets and works with local law enforcement agencies to track and recover missing individuals quickly.
      Project Lifesaver provides equipment, training, certification and support to law enforcement, public safety organizations and community groups throughout the country and nation. It has over 1,200 participating agencies across the U.S., Canada, and Australia, and has performed 2,440 searches in the last 11 years with no serious injuries or fatalities ever reported. This young man could have perhaps been found much, much sooner if he was a part of this program! Maybe CNN could do a follow-up article on Project Lifesaver and/or other organizations that provide such services so this type of event might not happen again.

      October 28, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DE

    There is a GOD and there is power in prayer!

    October 28, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. you idiot

    The Lamb of God is Jesus' like wise would we be the lambs of Jesus'
    This Little boy may have been saved by Jesus' angels watching over him.
    Glad to see all end well.

    October 28, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Debbie

    GOD is GOOD!

    October 28, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Keef

    Robbie Wood? Didn't he play guitar for the Rolling Stones?

    October 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cedar Rapids

    Glad to see this story have a happy ending, so many these days don't.

    October 28, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
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