Search for Robbie continues
By PORTSIA SMITH
(Editor’s note: We’ll continue to update this file as well as post updates to the fredericksburg.com facebook page.)
UPDATE: A Community Candlelight Prayer for Robbie was to be held tonight at 7:30 at the Doswell Community Center, 16433 Washington Highway.
Volunteers will once again be accepted tomorrow morning to help with the search for 9-year-old Robbie Wood Jr. of Caroline.
Those who can help are asked to go to the main parking lot of Kings Dominion in the morning.
On Tuesday, About 900 volunteers were being processed to help with the search. Officials describe the remaining search as a “basket search,” in that law enforcement officials have swept the park from one direction and now volunteers will search the same areas from different directions.
Hanover Sheriff: “My confidence is high [that Robbie was in the park]. The dogs have told us that Robert was there. We’re still looking. We’re doing tracks. We’re backtracking. We’re putting efforts back in where we were yesterday. By all indications, Robert was in that park and thats where he was last seen.”
None of the things they found in the park have had a definitive connection to Robbie or a link to the child, officials say.
More than 300 deputies and public safety personnel searched the area yesterday surrounding the 80-acre North Anna Battlefield Park in Hanover County.
That is the last place 9-year-old Robert “Robbie” Wood Jr. was seen when he was touring the park with his family on Sunday afternoon.
According to Capt. Mike Trice with the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, the boy was walking along a trail with his father, his father’s girlfriend and his younger brother, who is also autistic.
The father, Robert Wood Sr., said the older boy ran off the trail into a wooded area after 2 p.m. He said he tried to chase after him, but he eventually lost sight of him.
The boy was reported missing to police about 2:45 p.m. Sunday.
Robbie is a nonverbal student at The Faison School for Autism in Richmond. He enrolled in the school in August.
Two of his teachers, Ashlea Krouse and Beth Newcomb, came to the scene yesterday to help.
Krouse said it is not unusual for Robbie to run off.
“He doesn’t usually sit still, even in the classroom,” she said. “I’d imagine he’d be on the move the entire time unless he is injured.”
While Robbie doesn’t talk, she said he is not quiet and makes a lot of noises.
She said he most likely won’t respond to someone calling his name.
Trice said the family has been very cooperative and “is having a very understandably difficult time.”
Robbie lives in the Ladysmith area with his mother. His parents are separated.
Robbie’s challenges and the rough terrain of the area have made the search more difficult.
Trice said the Civil War battlefield is narrow and surrounded by a wooded area that is filled with brush, briar, ruts and valleys. It also borders the North Anna River.
Hanover is being assisted in the search by the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police.
Bloodhounds were on land to try to trace Robbie’s scent, grid teams combed the perimeters, dive teams searched the river, and helicopters with thermal imaging technology flew over the area all day yesterday.
Deputies returned from the field with muddied shoes, and at least two large black snakes were spotted.