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. What?

    The boy is autistic. However, YOU are a moron.

    October 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT (kcmo)

      autisim is a form of retardation...

      October 28, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Not all austic children are retards. Playing with computers can help them develop.

      October 29, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. shhhtoopid phil

    Yes phil, that is why we refer to you as "autistic"

    October 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Blessed

    I was so happy to hear that the little boy was found. As a parent of a 15yr old son with autism with limited speech, my heart went out to the family. I'm just thanking the Lord for His protection that He provided. To all the volunteers that searched a big thank you goes out to each and every one of you!!

    October 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. s kel

    I called to vol to look for him yesterday , was told to show up today, but found out he was found thank God. It was only ninety min ride from where I live.

    October 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. s kel

    For those familer with the area its where Kings Dominion amussment park, use to go there a lot. Its south of DC ,real close to Richmond Va.

    October 28, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. s kel

    Glad hes found.

    October 28, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ken

    Very heartwarming story – and I agree, why not just ignore the idiots? All they want is attention, let's starve them. Again a sweet story!

    October 28, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. fernace

    This is the kind of outcome we wish for all lost children! I've said it before, even if only 1 lost child gets home safely it's worth the focus, effort & any info to help speed a good ending! This is wonderful news!!

    October 28, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lori

    Have been watching this story. I'm so relieved to see a happy ending to this story. I have been sending my positive thoughts. I am a parent and sibling to someone with Autism and this is just your worst nightmare to think of them lost, alone and scared.

    October 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John

    Great ending, great effort, great news coverage! I only question when it was said they didn't know and didn't want to assume if he had hypothermia: How could anyone possibly not be suffering from hypothermia after being outside in such temperatures with no jacket for six days?!

    October 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meg

      John, I live in the area and it was unseasonable warm this past week... Upper 70s until today. So let's just hope for the best.

      October 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ThePreacherTheTeacher

    We all hope that you die. Alone and slowly

    October 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. April

    CNN editor it is David Trice not David Hines
    We are all so thankful for this outcome.

    October 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meg

      It is David Hines. He is the Col. MIKE Trice is the Captain. Thanks to all of you!!!

      October 28, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • April

      Youre right I was wrong on the names! My bad!

      October 28, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. A Olberding

    What a wonderful blessing the boy was found and is reunited with his family. My complaint to the writer is please do not call children "the Autistic boy", by doing so you are promoting ignorance about disabilities. He is a child first or a boy, it does not matter that he is diagnosed with Autism. If you must include his disability, please have respect and write "A boy with Autism ..." He is a boy and no matter what his disability all children are a wonderful gift.

    October 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Meg

    A HUGE thank you to everyone who worked so tirelessly to find this beautiful little boy. I live in the Richmond area and it has been a joyous day today for everyone.

    October 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dragonex

    Big hugs to you s kel.

    October 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
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