Missing Autistic Boy Found After Searchers Play Ozzy Osbourne

Joshua Robb ran away from his elementary school Monday.

ByABC News
September 13, 2011, 2:01 PM

Sept. 13, 2011— -- The search for 8-year-old Joshua Robb, the California autistic boy who was missing during a night of lightning storms, ended this afternoon when a search and rescue team found him in the woods near his school after playing recordings of Ozzy Osbourne.

Joshua was dehydrated and tired, but in good shape, authorities said according to ABC News affiliate KABC.

Joshua had spent Monday night in the forest near the San Bernardino mountains in dangerous conditions. Lightening and heavy downpours temporarily stymied overnight search efforts .

When the weather subsided today, the search for Joshua resumed around 7:30 a.m., aided by Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Riverside. Authorities used two dogs to detect Joshua's scent as more than 40 people sifted through thick brush on foot. A helicopter searched overhead.

The searchers also used recordings of his father's voice and Joshua's favorite country and heavy metal music, including songs by Ozzy Osbourne, heavy-metal pioneer and former lead vocalist of Black Sabbath.

"They feel it will comfort him and draw him," San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman told the Associated Press earlier today.

Joshua, who is severely autistic, is disturbed by loud noises, which worried the search and rescue team.

"He's not going to … go toward loud noises or helicopters making PA announcements. His family believes, and experts on autism that I've spoken to believe, that he would likely run from them," San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokesman Lt. Ron Ellis said Monday.

Police said Joshua squeezed between the bars of a metal playground fence at his school, Grandview Elementary, near Lake Arrowhead Monday morning. Joshua has run away before, Bachman said, and although the school's staff chased after him they couldn't catch him.

According to KABC, authorities recently removed Joshua from his parents' custody and put him under the care of his teacher after someone saw the boy being tied to a pole, something Joshua's father, Ron Robb, said they do to restrain him.

Robb told ABC News' Los Angeles affiliate his son might have run away to find his parents.

"All he knows is us. We've never had a break from my son ever since he was born," Robb said. "We know for a fact that that's why he escaped, because he was out trying to find us."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.