Half of All Autistic Kids Will Run Away, Tragedy Often Follows

"I dropped to my knees when they told me he was alive and an investigator helped to get me back up. I couldn't stop crying," she said. "Robert's feet were so swollen, his shoes were stuck in mud, he had curled up in a ravine when the temperature dropped and it began to rain."

Since his rescue, Robert's family has allowed the local sheriff to outfit him with a radio anklet similar to those given to prisoners on house arrest, so he can be tracked if he runs away in the future.

"People have to understand autistic children aren't like other children," Williams said. "They're special. They run when they want and do what they want. And just because they can't speak doesn't mean they're not thinking things.

"If you went to those woods, you'd see they're so dense the light doesn't come through. There's coyotes and snakes and spiders.

"How did he survive? How do they survive? If you don't believe in God, come see Robert."

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