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. Crazy


    October 28, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Emily

    At least YOU realize you're crazy.

    October 28, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Emily

    Maybe we should put you down.

    October 28, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Crazy


    October 28, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Crazy


    October 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Samantha

    I wouldnt get so upset about anything people say online. Its just words on a screen. Just brush it off, go on with your day.

    October 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. maria993

    so happy to hear that this child was found! prayers and blessings for healing to him and his family,
    my son 5 year old son is autistic, he is brilliant yet non verbal, his older brother is very gifted yet not autistic, think there is alot of ignorant people who through lack of education/intelligence consider autistic children less intelligent, my mom told me Einstein was non-verbal until the age of five, we need to understand autism and not rush to stamp labels on our beautiful children, they can teach us a thing or two...

    October 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Crazy


    October 28, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nancy M. B.

    What is this with autism all of a sudden? I grew up in the 40's and 50's and we never even heard of the disorder. Lately, in the past 15 years or so, that's all you hear. I can't even recall knowing a child who even approximated the symptoms. Now it's like the "Disease of the Month."

    October 28, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • GNP

      'Nancy MB', you really should get out more, and/or educate yourself more. My guess is that you're just trolling here, but just in case you are serious, you need to get a clue.

      October 28, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Theresa DeLaughter

      In the 40's and 50's these kids were labeled as retarded. I have an autistic son but do have to agree that is being way over diagnosed. The problem is that the diagnostic scale for it is huge.

      October 28, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Probably because they didn't know much about the syndrome then?

      October 28, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billis

      Autism and retardation weren't as rampant because in the 40's and 50's, the government didn't spray aluminum and barium over our cities nearly daily causing infertility, birth defects, and asthma. Also, in the 40's and 50's, our food wasn't genteically modified, nor was it loaded with artificial preservatives, MSG, and pesticides. It was actual real food, not deplinished then re "fortified" with fake man made vitamins. Also, fluoride that's dumped into our water is the main active ingredient in rat poison, and contains things like mercury and even uranium. That is why kids die from cancer and are born with autism every minute of every day. The poisons in the vaccines (flu, hpv, etc) also don't help the kids, or people's fertility rates either.

      October 28, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim of Colorado

      It is probably the nature of the information age. You hear a lot about stuff that was not talked about before. 30 years ago, who heard of things like E.D., Postpartum Depression, Shopping Addictions, etc.

      October 28, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. carl

    Thank GOD for some good news today. I am not even religious but i just am so freaking tired of the doom and gloom that is everywhere.

    October 28, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ryan Lobes

    The father must be a little "autistic" for letting the kid wander off his leash

    October 28, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • In Doswell

      The father has 2 autistic sons, one ran off while he was dealing with the other, he tried to keep up but could not keep him in sight. This is not a downtown park, it is a civil war battlefield park in a heavily wooded area. It may be easy to criticize, it is much harder to deal with 2 autistic children.

      October 28, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcp

      I hope you are able to mature and be happy one day, Ryan.

      October 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Crazy


    October 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Crazy


    October 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Patrick

    Poor little guy to he alone in that park for a week. Unbelievable glad this turned out the way it did with him being found safe!!!

    October 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Victoria

    This is great news. Now can we get a homepage post on Jahessye Shockley? Oh wait, that's right. She doesn't fit MSM's image of an acceptable missing child story. My bad. What the hell was I thinking?

    October 28, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heather

      To be fair, I have not even heard about this case until the boy was found; Jahessye's case I am at least familiar with (and I'm thousands of miles away). But then again, Robert's disappearance was clearly a localized thing; he wasn't going to end up halfway across the country.

      October 28, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
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