Boy who went missing for 6 days in Va. park now wears GPS device

Posted at 8:29 PM, Oct 24, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-25 07:23:23-04

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – Wednesday was just an average day for the 10-year-old who went missing last year for six days in a state park.

Robert Wood Jr. returned to the elated to the arms of his mother in the driveway of their Hanover home after a full day a school Wednesday. But the day and the week feel far from normal for the family.

"He stays closer to me now,” Wood's mother, Barbara Locker said. “Even if he runs around, he always comes back to see if I am right there.”

Locker says Robert stays closer because of what happened this time last year. Her son, who lives with severe autism, went missing and a massive search drew crowds from across the state.

Volunteer citizens and emergency crews searched the dense North Anna Battlefield Park night looking for the boy.

Hanover Fire and EMS Battalion Chief Willie Jones told CBS 6 News’ Catie Beck that every morning search crews did not give up hope that they would find Robert.

But after six days and falling temperatures, many started to expect the worst.

"A front was coming in, drizzle and cold weather on that Saturday and we said ‘Today is the day -- we've got to find him,’" said Jones.

And so on that Friday, they miraculously found Robert in rock quarry in a fetal position -- alive and unharmed.

A year later, Robert's fences are higher, he wears a GPS device to be tracked and doesn't like to venture out of his home at night.

For all those who searched, the memory of their kindness is still close to heart.

"It changed my whole life, because I know I'm not alone," Locker said.