PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, VA (WFXR News) - 9-year-old Pittsylvania County boy Andrew Yarboro has been found safe.
He is being checked out by EMS who was helping out in the search.
According to Pittsylvania County Sheriff Mike Taylor, he will more than likely be transported to the hospital as a precaution, according to Pittsylvania County Sheriff Mike Taylor.
Andrew was found around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday by a search volunteer.
"I am relieved. I'm glad he's safe. I'm glad he's well. And I'm glad this nightmare is over," says Garr Yarboro, Andrew's father.
9-year-old Andrew Yarboro was found after missing for about 16 hours.
"I gave him a kiss and I watched his eyes light up when he recognized my voice. And I'm just glad he's safe," says the boy's father.
Volunteer Mary Parker, a mother to five boys, was the one who located the missing 9-year-old. Parker and a friend searched a marshy area. At first, Parker felt discouraged. The mud was thick and the terrain was tough to navigate. But that feeling changed when Parker spotted footprints in the mud.
"I thought to myself he's got to be down here. Because there were no backwards footprints, there were only forwards," says Parker.
Parker sang "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" as she continued looking for Andrew. She located the nonverbal autistic boy in a briar patch.
"I was singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat because they said he liked nursery rhymes so I thought maybe that would be comforting. So I was singing it and then I was talking about pizza and then I looked down and it was like he must have stood up out of a briar patch," says Parker.
Andrew was cold, tired, and had some scratches, but was otherwise ok. Parker held him until he fell asleep. Andrew was later transferred to an ambulance and examined by EMS as a precaution.
"It was like a miracle. Just nothing but happiness. Because I knew there were going to be some parents and loved ones that were going to have the absolute best day of their life," says Parker.
Andrew was last seen near his home on Tuesday evening, when he wandered off. According to the National Autism Association, about half of children with autism spectrum disorder will wander or run from safe surroundings.
"I just wanted him to hear my voice, his mother's voice so he could stop running and realize everything was fine and to come back home," says Andrew's father, Garr Yarboro.
Andrew Yarboro was located about 1.4 miles away from his home in the 6000 block of Strawberry Road in Chatham, Virginia. The following agencies assisted the search:
Agencies assisting the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office were the Danville Police Department, Danville Sheriff’s Office, Henry County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, Angel Search and Rescue, Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue, Commonwealth Search and Rescue, Black Diamond Search and Rescue, Search and Rescue Tracking Institute and numerous volunteer citizens who showed up to aid in the Search and Rescue efforts.
According to the Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office, a family member reported Andrew Yarboro missing around 5:30 Tuesday night.
He was last seen in the 1200 block of County Road in Chatham. Andrew reportedly wandered away from home and could not be found.