Yesterday I was made aware of a 10 year old boy with autism who ventured away from his uncle’s home that borders the preserve’s Jackson Hollow section.
The kid left home early afternoon with the family dog, a large mastiff, and ultimately got lost.
The neighborhood, Prince William County Police Department, and VOF Preserve staff & associates quickly mobilized.
Here are two of today’s heroes, seen here smiling, after the child and dog were safely back home as they circled back to tend to one of the search ATV’s (with a now dead battery).
Our Preserve Manager shared that the person ultimately responsible for locating the lost duo was our very own VOF Research Associate and Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History ornithologist, Jacob Saucier (right) – who was staying at the VOF Research Outpost this weekend to record new captures for our ongoing natural sound project.
Stationed right there on site, Jacob was the first on the scene and immediately put his knowledge of the landscape, supersonic hearing, and naturalist tracking skills to use to locate the kid and his dog (by sound!) just a few short hours after the child went missing.
In addition to Jacob, we are so thankful for VOF Stewardship Committee Member and Preserve neighbor, Karl Szlatenyi (left), who immediately dropped what he was doing to help assist in the search.
Finally, the Prince William County police (led by two absolute credits to our community, Lieutenant Shane Ash and Officer Bill Huber) showed up in a huge way. Many officers quickly patroled local roadways, while the adventurous Officer Huber joined Jacob, Karl, and I on foot and helped us cover some incredible distance quickly.
A helicopter team even briefly assisted the search from the air, while the child and his trusty dog friend stuck together through their whole grand misadventure – and made short work of some Doritos and a can of coke before going home a little wet and muddy – but most importantly safe and well.
Thanks again to everyone who came together to ensure yesterday had a happy ending!
Proud to share that the preserve is a part of a wonderful, proactive community