An eight-year-old autistic boy disappears into a densely forested park in Virginia for five days. The frantic search to find a child who doesn’t understand he’s in danger:

Because of his autism, Robert probably didn’t know that he was lost. If he heard people coming through the woods, he might well have taken cover from them, thinking it was a game of hide-and-seek. Or he might not have wanted to be found by a stranger, even one calling out his name. This made efforts to locate him extremely difficult, and it’s how Robert managed to elude what would soon become one of the largest search-and-rescue operations in Virginia history.

When he disappeared that day, Robert began an unlikely adventure that placed him at the center of the newest concern in the search-and-rescue (SAR) world: lost autistic children. Why autistic kids have the tendency to run off is not known, but the urge is strong in half of all children diagnosed with the disorder.

“Catch Me If You Can.” — Dean King, Outside magazine

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