Grandmother Of Robert Wood, Jr. Speaks - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Robert's Family Updates His Condition

Family photos of Robert Wood, Jr. Family photos of Robert Wood, Jr.

UPDATE, 7AM: The grandmother of a boy rescued after five days lost in the Hanover County woods says he is doing as well as can be expected.

"The doctors said there wasn't nothing they couldn't fix and that's what counts," said Norma Jean Williams, grandmother of Robert Wood, Jr.

Williams said doctors discovered a hole in Robert's esophagus, likely caused by something he tried to eat while in the park. Robert, who has autism, is also being treated for bug bites, scrapes and bruises over most of his body.

Robert remains in the hospital. Stay with 8News for updates.

Copyright 2011 by Young Broadcasting, Inc.

UPDATE, 2PM Tuesday: Robert Wood's father, Robbie Wood, defends his visit to North Anna Battlefield Park... story HERE>>

UPDATE, 11:30AM Tuesday:  RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The 8-year-old autistic boy who was found after being missing for a week remains hospitalized after doctors found a hole in his esophagus.

Robert Wood Jr.'s grandmother, Norma Jean Williams, told the Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg in a story published Tuesday that she believes the tear stems from something the boy tried to eat while he was alone in the woods.

Wood remains at VCU Medical Center in stable condition.

Wood wandered off from his father and others Oct. 23 while on a walk at North Anna Battlefield Park in Hanover County. He was found Friday at a nearby rock quarry by one of thousands of volunteers who had helped search for the boy.

The volunteer who found Wood told police he wishes to remain anonymous. 

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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UPDATE, 1:45PM Monday: Hanover authorities continue their investigation into the circumstances surrounding Robert Wood's disappearance.

No charges have yet been filed in the case. Wood, who has autism, disappeared October 23 before being found Friday.

Robert remains at VCU Medical Center, where he could be released as early as today.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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UPDATE, 7:15AM Monday: Eight-year-old Robert Wood Jr. could be released from the hospital as early as Monday evening.

Wood, missing near a Hanover County park most of last week, was discovered by a citizen Friday afternoon near a rock quarry off of Verdon Road. Though the boy, who has autism, had no serious injuries, he was admitted to the hospital for observation and evaluations.

Wood's grandmother says she will forever be grateful to law enforcement and an army of volunteers who teamed up to help find Robert.

"I was amazed and thankful," said Norma Jean Williams. "I went down the line and trying to tell them a little something about Bud, I thanked them and I told them I hope they find him."

Stay with 8News for continuing coverage.

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UPDATE, 10AM Sunday: The grandmother of Robert Wood, Jr. will speak to news outlets Sunday morning. 8News will bring you all the latest information from Caroline County.

UPDATE, 8PM Saturday: Hanover Sheriff's officials released the following statement Saturday: 

"When Robert was found he was wearing all of his clothes with the exception of his shoes. They were found... nearby. He was lying in a damp creek bed. The citizen that found him was not part of an organized search, but like the many that did assist in the search, he felt compelled to do what he could.

"After obtaining permission to park his car, from a resident on Verdon Road, he started to search the woods on west side of the quarry property. Upon finding Robert, he placed a stocking cap on Robert's head, gloves on his hands, wrapped him in a coat, gave him water to drink, and then called 911.

"I have spoken at length with the gentlemen that found Robert. He does not wish for his name to be released. He simply offered the following statement:'I was guided by the holy spirit, to take any recognition for finding Robert would take credit away from God.'"

UPDATE, 7:00PM Friday:

Statements from the parents:

Barbara Locker, Mother -

"He is here and safe. Thank you for your prayers, your thoughts. Thank you for searching. He is a strong little fella. At this time, my family thanks you for respecting our privacy."

Robert Wood, Sr., Father -

"On behalf of the family of Robbie Wood I would like to extend our greatest gratitude to all who have had us in your thoughts and prayers, to all volunteers who have donated, time, effort, and other valuable resources, and finally to our local, state and federal law enforcement, fire and rescue. These people are truly professionals and we have no doubt in our minds that the best of the best were out here looking for Robert. 

The support we have received is overwhelming and we wish we could name everyone, but the list is just too great, but please know we know who you are!

I would like to thank the news media for its continued coverage, as well as its respect for our privacy.

Robert is a very strong and determined little boy. We never gave up hope that he would return home safe. The family has been here every hour and been involved in the search 200 percent. Thank you so much everybody...Robert is home!"

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UPDATE, 5PM Friday: Doctors at VCU Medical Center confirm Robert Wood Jr. is in good condition and has no major injuries.

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UPDATE, 4PM Friday: Hanover Sheriff David Hines says Robert Wood Jr. was found safe near a rock quarry at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon.

He said Robert was in "serious, but good" shape. He was found by volunteer searchers, and he has been reunited with his family.

Hines said the search is over but the investigation continues into the incident.

Stay with 8News for continuing coverage.

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UPDATE: 3:45PM Friday: VCU Medical Officials confirm that Robert Wood Jr. is at their facility being evaluated by doctors. He is reportedly in good condition.

A news conference is expected momentarily. Stay with 8News for updates.

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UPDATE 3PM Friday: Caroline County Sheriff Tony Lippa CONFIRMS that Robert Wood Jr. has been found alive.

Wood was flown to the hospital by helicopter. His condition is unknown.

Authorities said Wood was found just west of the rock quarry near the search area, just off of Verdon Road.

There will be a 3:30 p.m. news conference shown live on TV 8.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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UPDATE:, 2:46PM Friday: There are unconfirmed reports that Robert Wood Jr. has been found alive.

A medical helicopter landed near a rock quarry not far from the search scene just before 2:30 p.m. Sources said the helicopter took off again with Wood on board.

Wood's condition is unknown. Stay with 8News for updates.

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UPDATE, 2:25PM Friday: Despite chilly, drizzly conditions, more than 1,000 volunteers turned out again Friday to help find Robert Wood Jr.

Scores of citizens lined up at Meadow Event Park Friday, just a few miles down the road from the Doswell search area.

So far Friday, there has been no sign of Wood, who has autism. Hanover Sheriff's officials will hold a news conference at 5 p.m. to discuss the day's search and weekend search plans, if needed.

You can watch that press conference live on 8News at 5.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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UPDATE, 9AM Friday: Hanover Sheriff's officials said the investigation into the disappearance of Robert Wood Jr. has been thorough, and current search plans are the best way to find the boy and bring him home.

Spokesperson Capt. Mike Trice said during a Friday morning news conference that Robert's family has been "shoulder-to-shoulder" with search crews and volunteers, trying to find their son.

Friday, nine specialized professional search and rescue teams will be deployed in the area where Robert first disappeared, in an effort to unearth clues possibly missed in the first rounds of searches.

Trice also said search teams and volunteers need to be prepared for cold, rainy conditions Friday.

Officials are beginning to make weekend search plans in case they are necessary. Stay with 8News for updates.

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UPDATE, 7AM Friday: A sharp drop in temperatures and chilly rain showers made weather a concern in the continued search for Robert Wood Jr. overnight.

The search for the autistic boy in Hanover County enters its sixth day Friday as thousands more volunteers are expected to assist in search efforts.

Volunteers are asked to report to Meadow Event Park, just east of Kings Dominion, Friday morning. Returning volunteers who are already registered and trained are asked to report at 8 a.m. First-time volunteers are asked to report at 9 a.m.

Search officials are expected to conduct a news conference updating the search at 9 a.m. 8News will carry the conference live.

Stay with 8News for continued live team coverage throughout the day.

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UPDATE, 3:30PM Thursday: Hanover Sheriff's officials stressed Thursday afternoon that they remain in lifesaving mode as the search for Robert Wood Jr. continues in the Doswell area.

Spokesperson Captain Mike Trice updated the media in a news conference Thursday afternoon, saying "we are not giving up."

Eight-year-old Robert Wood Jr. has been missing since running from his family in the North Anna Battlefield Park Sunday afternoon. Robert is autistic and does not speak, making the search especially difficult.

Thursday, more than 1,200 volunteers helped professional search and rescue teams canvass an expanded area in northern Hanover County and southern Caroline County. Dive teams continued the search in the North Anna River.

In all, crews searched up to 3.5 miles out from where Robert first went missing.

If Robert is not found Thursday, 1,000 volunteers will be needed again Friday. Officials are asking returning volunteers to report to Meadow Event Park, just east of Kings Dominion, at 8 a.m. First-time volunteers are asked to report at 9 a.m., also to Meadow Event Park.

Signs will be posted in the area directing volunteers.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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UPDATE, 11:30AM Thursday: Hanover search and rescue officials have all of the volunteers they need for Thursday's search for Robert Wood.

Those not already registered and searching are being asked not to come out today.

Volunteers may be needed again tomorrow, if Robert has not been located. Friday volunteers are asked to report at 9 a.m. to the Meadow Event Park (where the state fair is held), just down the road from Kings Dominion.

Meanwhile, more than 1,200 searchers and volunteers are canvassing an expanded search zone Thursday, expanding efforts west and north into Caroline County. Special attention is also being focused on the North Anna River.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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UPDATE, 9AM Thursday: Hanover authorities confirm that despite continued ground and air searches overnight and this morning, there has still been no sign of missing autistic eight-year-old Robert Wood.

Thursday, searchers and volunteers will expand the search area to the west, and also north across the North Anna River into Caroline County.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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UPDATE, 7AM Thursday: Volunteers are again asked to be at the main parking lot of Kings Dominion by 9 a.m. to join in the search for missing eight-year-old Robert Wood.

Hanover officials said there were no major developments overnight as the search for Robert enters its fifth day.

Officials are hoping to have as many return volunteer searchers as possible in order to speed up the registration and training process and start the search quickly.

A news conference is expected at 9 a.m. to details any new developments. 8News will carry that news conference live on TV8.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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UPDATE, 3:35PM Wednesday: Hanover Sheriff's officials said Wednesday afternoon that they continue to search for missing eight-year-old Robert Wood Jr. under the assumption that he is still alive.

Rescue crews and more than 900 volunteer searchers are combing 40 search zones over 22 square miles today, some more than once, in an area between the North Anna and Little Rivers.

There were some "articles of interest" found during today's search, but nothing that has been linked to the missing boy.  

Representatives from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as well as from national search and rescue groups, are assisting local crews in their search efforts.

Hanover officials stress that Robert's autism and lack of verbal communication is making the search a particular challenge.

Unless Wood is found, volunteers are again asked to come to the main parking lot at Kings Dominion at 9 a.m. Thursday morning to help resume the search. Spokesperson Capt. Mike Trice said the more return volunteers who do not need to be re-registered and re-trained, the better.

Stay with 8news for continuing coverage.

Copyright 2011 by Young Broadcasting, Inc.

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UPDATE, 2:15PM Wednesday: The search for Robert Wood, an eight-year-old autistic boy from Caroline County, has hit the 72-hour mark.

Hundreds of volunteers and rescue crews continue their search for Robbie Wednesday afternoon, searching between the Little and North Anna Rivers.

We will carry a news conference updating the search efforts LIVE at 3:30 p.m. on TV 8. Stay with 8News for updates.

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UPDATE, 10:45AM Wednesday: From Hanover Sheriff's: We are prepared to receive and assign 1200 volunteers today. Currently we have a need for 500 additional volunteers as soon as possible. Volunteers are to report to the main lot of King's Dominion for registration, briefings, and assignments. Any assistance you can provide to rebroadcast this message is very much appreciated.

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UPDATE, 9:30AM Wednesday: The search area for missing autistic eight-year-old Robbie Wood Jr. is being expanded.

Wednesday, search crews and citizen volunteers will expand the search south of Verdon Road to the Little River. 

Hundreds of volunteers turned out again Wednesday morning to assist in the search.

Stay with 8News for continued live updates.

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UPDATE, 6:30AM Wednesday: More than 100 people turned out for a candlelight prayer vigil for lost nine-year-old Robbie Wood Jr. in Hanover County Tuesday night.

The vigil was held at the Doswell Community Center, not far from the search site.

Wednesday morning, volunteers are asked to be back in the main parking lot at Kings Dominion to participate in the search for Robbie.

Stay with 8News for live updates and team coverage.

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UPDATE, 7PM Tuesday - Release from the Hanover County Sheriff's Office:

Today well over a thousand arrived at King's Dominion to volunteer in the effort to locate Robert A. Wood Jr. 889 volunteers were ultimately registered, trained, and deployed on assignments. We will be accepting volunteers again tomorrow, Wednesday, October 26th, at Kings Dominion beginning at 9:00 a.m.

The procedure will be the same as today with one exception. For returning volunteers a process will be established to quickly move them through the registration process to assignment. All others will receive the training prior to receiving an assignment.

As today's volunteers will attest, the terrain that is being search is rugged. We are very proud of their effort and their significant contribution to the goal of finding Robert. We asked that those considering volunteering tomorrow to be prepared for a strenuous day. Today a few volunteers required medical attention as a result of the activity.

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UPDATE, 3PM Tuesday: Hanover County authorities say volunteers can join the search for Robbie Wood Jr. again Wednesday morning if he is not found before then.

Citizens interested in helping in the search should come to the main Kings Dominion parking lot by 9 a.m. Wednesday. The same restrictions as Tuesday will apply (see below.)

Stay with 8News for updates.

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UPDATE, 1:30PM Tuesday: There will be a Community Candlelight Prayer for missing nine-year-old Robbie Wood Jr. at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night in Doswell.

The event will be held at the Doswell Community Center, located at 16433 Washington Highway in Doswell.

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UPDATE, 1PM Tuesday: Hundreds of volunteers turned out to help search for missing nine-year-old Robbie Wood Jr. Tuesday morning.

Citizens lined up in the parking lot of Kings Dominion to be briefed and trained in search techniques. The response was so strong, Hanover Sheriff's officials had to ask anyone not in line by 9 a.m. not to come out.

Volunteer searchers will help expand the search for Robbie beyond the confines of North Anna Battlefield Park, where the autistic boy went missing Sunday afternoon.

So far, there has been no trace of the missing boy.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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UPDATE, 7AM Tuesday:

Another cold night has passed without any sign of missing nine-year-old Robbie Wood Jr.

Temperatures in northern Hanover County approached the lower 40s early Tuesday morning as rescuers prepare for another day of searching. Volunteers will also be accepted (see below).

Stay with 8News for continuing coverage.

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UPDATE, Monday, 6:30PM:

Release from the Hanover County Sheriff's Office:

Citizen volunteers will be accepted to assist in the search operations for Robbie on Tuesday, October 25th. For those who have already offered their service we will be returning those call when time allows. We currently have hundreds who have volunteered to assist.

Volunteers must be physically fit and able to walk a distance of at least 5 miles. They must possess the proper clothing and footwear to traverse difficult terrain. Volunteers should report to the main parking area at King's Dominion at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning dressed properly and with a photo ID. Volunteers should understand that they may not be deployed or may be turned away if they do not meet the required criteria.

Volunteers will be checked in, credentialed and will receive a briefing on the operations. Volunteers should understand that they may or may not be deployed on a mission. Once ready for deployment, volunteers will remain the staging area until needed.

There is no need to call prior to responding to this opportunity. Emergency Communications personnel are dedicated to serving the currently deployed search teams.

We would like to thank everyone for their assistance, patience, and prayers.

UPDATE, Monday, 1PM:

Hanover authorities have three search teams searching an area stretching from Verdon Road to the North Anna River, and from Napier Drive to Pine Level Lane.

Anyone who thinks they have seen Robbie is asked to call Hanover authorities at (804) 365-6140.

Stay with 8News for live updates.

UPDATE, Monday, 6AM: 

Search crews from Hanover County and other jurisdictions continue their search for an autistic boy who wandered away from his family at a Hanover park Sunday afternoon.

Nine-year-old Robbie Wood Jr. has been missing since just before 3 p.m. Sunday, when he walked away from his family at the North Anna Battlefield Park, near Doswell. Authorities said Robbie is not vocal and will not respond to rescuers.

Crews searched through the night using thermal imaging, but were unable to find the boy, who does not speak.

Monday morning, crews were starting a grid search from Verdon Road to the North Anna River. Water rescue crews have been placed on standby.

Reverse 9-1-1 calls have been made to residents in the area alerting them to the situation.

Robbie was last seen wearing a red long-sleeve shirt, shiny blue athletic pants and blue shoes. He has blond hair and blue eyes.

Authorities said they do not currently need search volunteers.

Stay with 8News for updates.

Copyright 2011 by Young Broadcasting, Inc.

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