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Missing 9-year-old non-verbal boy found safe after lengthy search

Crews searched for Andrew Yarboro near his Chatham home

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va.UPDATE

"He's just really special and he's a wild thing. He's very fast, obviously," Anrew Yarboro's mother, Jessica Fox, said shortly after learning that he had been found safe.

Fox, couldn't hold back her emotions as she talked about her son.

"His dad turned his back for five minutes and couldn't find him. Thank God he's here and he's safe," Fox said.

Andrew was found in a heavily wooded area about half a mile away from the family's house.

His parents reported him missing around 5:30 Tuesday evening.

Fox said he was playing outside while his father worked on the water heater at their house.

She doesn't know why he ran off, but this is not the first time he's run off and had to be searched for.

Jay East was one of hundreds who helped search for Andrew.

He joined the search effort after hearing about it Wednesday morning.

"As a parent, when something like this happens, everybody should come together as a community," East said.

Wednesday morning, 10 News rode with him as he and a few other volunteers as searched farm fields, out buildings, and roadsides on foot and in their trucks.

"You've just got to keep praying and search," East said.

Mary Parker was one of two women who found Andrew late Wednesday morning.

"We followed his tracks. We could see his little, bare footprints," Parker explained.

Parker came to the search command center at Union Hall Elementary School Wednesday morning to help and met a total stranger who was also there to help.

The two set out on their own and searched for Andrew.

When they got to the edge of a deep marsh not far from Andrew's house, they found him.

He was stuck in briars.

"I looked over and you could just see him, his chest. He looked very upset and he made a noise. I went over to him and put my sweat shirt on him and just held him," Parker said.

She said he fell asleep, and she feels blessed.

"I have five boys of my own. I know how they are. They explore, they get lost. I feel like it's God's will," said Parker.

Fox said she thanked Jesus when Andrew was found.

"I just hit the ground screaming and crying and praising Jesus. We'd been praying all day and night," Fox explained.

A car pulled into her driveway shortly after she got the news he had been found and, thinking Andrew was in the car, she ran to it.

"Where's he at," she said, anxiously, to the driver of the car when she realized Andrew was not in the car.

The car was there to take her to Andrew in the woods where he was found.

About two hours later, he emerged in with paramedics, was loaded into an ambulance, and taken to a nearby hospital to be checked out.

Fox said he asked for Pizza.

"Oh, he's going to get all the pizza he wants," Fox said.

As everyone gathered around the ambulance started to leave, Fox's father thanked all those who helped search for Andrew.

He threw his arms in the air and shouted "Thank you, everyone!"

UPDATE

Authorities have found a 9-year-old boy who went missing Tuesday evening. He is safe.

Andrew Yarboro has autism and is not able to communicate verbally. He wandered off from his home in Chatham, as he has done before in the past. 

Andrew had scratches on him and was very tired, but otherwise OK. As a precaution, he's being treated by emergency personnel. 

Crews searched for hours through thick brush and swampy terrain to find the child. Volunteers found his clothes around 4 a.m., and the child was found after 11 a.m. in the 6000 block of Strawberry Road, which is about 1.4 miles from his home. 

Search teams eventually found and followed barefoot prints Wednesday morning, which led them to Andrew. 

ORIGINAL STORY

The Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office is searching for a missing 9-year-old non-verbal boy who they say wandered away from home. 

Twelve crews made up of multiple people have been searching overnight for Andrew Yarboro. Drones and police dogs are being used in the search, and the sheriff's office is asking for volunteers to help. 

Andrew Yarboro is described as a 4-foot-tall boy with autism who was wearing a dark gray shirt and black windbreaker-style pants. His family says he moves quickly, and the sheriff said this is not the first time he has wandered off. 

Volunteers said they found the boy's clothes around 4 a.m. Wednesday, but there is still no sign of the boy. Volunteers are spreading out and parking on roads in the area to establish a perimeter and keep a lookout. 

The call to the sheriff's office originally came in around 5:30 Tuesday afternoon. Andrew's family said that he was home with a parent when he wandered away. The parent was working on something in the home, which is in the 1200 block of County Road in Chatham.

Capt. Corey Webb said the sheriff's office has not found any evidence of drug usage. 

A reverse 911 call has been made to homes in the immediate area notifying them of the boy's disappearance. 

The Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office along with the Henry County Sheriff's Office, the Danville Police Department, the Halifax County Sheriff's Office Virginia State Police and Angel Search and Rescue teams are searching for the boy. 

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 immediately. If you would like to help with the search, Capt. Webb asks you to call the Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office at (434) 656-6211.

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