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. marty

    Beautiful blue eyes!
    My oldest son fit the mold of the American Dream and I tried to make him a better person.
    My youngest son has Aspergers. He has made me a better person

    October 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tcp

    I hope you are able to overcome your frailties and find happiness one day, phil.

    October 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. cindy

    You are the retard & need to be put on a leash!!

    October 28, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Carianne

    Praise God! Finally some good news!!! Very happy for this family. 🙂

    October 28, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    Several close parallels between this story and that of Keith Kennedy, an autistic young man who went missing in the woods of northern Wisconsin in 2008. He was also missing several days while searchers worked in rugged terrain, miraculously also found alive, curled in a fetal position, a little less than a mile from where he went missing. The sense of elation is universal– finding a precious soul still alive when the odds are fading toward tragedy. Congratulations to all who were involved!

    October 28, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tcp

    I hope one day you are able to overcome your self loathing and be a happy person, ruff.

    October 28, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sanni

    ppl ned tu realy wak up abt us an lern abt our lives a n abt howe autism afecks everythng an thy ned tu tak th time tu undrstan us caus the werld outsde ise a veri scari plase tu us wch causes us tu respnf d ase we du by runnin tu avoide ovr stimuli an othr triggr thngs -the persn whm made thos remarks neds tu trade plases wth us fr a month tu see wht its lik befr he tlks abot us lik tht or saes we aint werthy tu exist fr ityt taks al kinda ppl tu mak a werld an tht inkluds us tu

    October 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bmitch

    notice the story does not tell where he's been for 5 years ?

    October 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bmitch

    can somebody tell me where he's been for 5 years

    October 28, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. RUFFNUTT (kcmo)

    can we not say retard now???

    October 28, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    Ruffie, *why* are you using the word retarded so much? I've noticed that lately you've been using it a lot.
    it does hurt people, and I've never thought of you as a person who would intentionally *want* to hurt people...

    P.s. Autism isn't a form of retardation, either.
    Just thought you'd want to know, darlin'.

    October 29, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT (kcmo)...

      next you'll say "midget" is a bad word... 🙁
      alot of people don;t know this but most retards like to get high!!!.

      October 29, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    This is the best story I've read for a long time.
    Still, bad trolls have to come here to spoil it.
    What a world!

    October 29, 2011 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. Cassandra Chu

    I wonder sometimes if Autism isn't an evolutionary type thing, i.e., if Autists and Idiot-Savants will rule the world some day and are a sign of what's to come, in an evolutionary sense in the next 1 million years... After all, look how far we've come since Lucy, 4 million years ago.

    October 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. proudmama

    All that Im going to say is that I am sooo glad that he was found and he was ok. I would be out of my mind if anything would happen to my son who also has autism. He is also non verbal. Ive read many comments on this story and I agree with some of you who have kids with autism. These kids should be treated just like everyone else. I think that the bullying in school should stop because it isnt necesssary. I do not agree that people who call kids who are autistic or even people for that need a little extra attention / help should not be call "Retards". Im sure that EVERYONE needs alittle help here and there. I work in a facility where many people need the extra help to become more independent to be able to survive in this world wether they have a disability. I think some people need to take a reality check. Autistic kids are very smart. People may think the kids do not understand, but they really do. I found that out with my son. It doesnt take him very long to figure certain things out. I thank GOD for my son and i would not give him up for ANYTHING! I almost lost him once at birth. I am very happy for this family. Thanking God that he is at home safe and sound!

    October 29, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JenniferT

    So happy that this beautiful young man was found safe and will be OK. Kudos to the person who found him.

    October 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
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