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Found youngster still in hospital
Robert Woods Jr. still recovering in the hospital

 Robert Wood Jr. was lost in the woods for several days.
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Date published: 11/1/2011

BY PORTSIA SMITH

Robert Wood Jr. is still recovering at VCU Medical Center in Richmond.

The 9-year-old boy was listed in stable condition yesterday, according to hospital spokeswoman Malorie Burkett.

Robert is recovering after he had been missing in the woods of Hanover County for five nights.

He was located near a rock quarry Friday afternoon by an unofficial male volunteer, who wishes to remain anonymous.

For six days, law enforcement agencies, and fire, rescue and military personnel, as well as 6,000 citizen volunteers from all over the country--from as far away as Alaska--searched for the boy, who has autism and does not speak.

Robert's grandmother, Norma Jean Williams, said in a telephone interview yesterday that doctors found a hole in the boy's esophagus.

"It must have been something he tried to eat," she said. "That's why they can't give him any solid foods."

She said they performed more tests on him and that he smiles at the nurses.

Williams said she's ready for her grandson to come home so they can return to a normal life. Robert's younger brother, Ryan, went back to school at Bowling Green Primary yesterday for the first time since his brother went missing.

Robert A. Wood Sr., 34, told police he was walking along a trail in North Anna Battlefield Park on Oct. 23 with his two sons--both of whom have autism--and his girlfriend when Robert wandered off and ran into the woods at about 2 p.m.

He told police that he tried to chase after the boy but eventually lost sight of him.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419
Email: psmith@fredericksburg.com