in a national park in Victoria. He is eleven years old and he has been missing for three days now.
His photograph shows a child who is not really looking at the camera. Reports say he is autistic.
It may well make him much harder to find. If he follows the typical pattern of autistic children I have known he won't know to stay in one place. He almost certainly won't respond to people calling for him - perhaps not even his parents. He probably won't understand the dangers posed by water, by wildlife, or by the bushland he is apparently lost in.
By now he will be hungry and may try to eat something he should not eat. He will be thirsty and may try to drink water he should not drink. I say "may" to both those things because one autistic child I knew never thought to eat or drink unless food and drink was put directly into his hands.
He will be cold because he is not dressed for nights in the open.
Will he be frightened? Yes, he almost certainly will be but his fear will be mixed with confusion. In all likelihood, if his autism is severe enough, he won't really understand what he has done in wandering off. He may not understand where he is. His surroundings will register as different and he may actually like them because, although they will be complex, they may also be simple for him. He won't need to try and process the complexities of life with other people.
He will have no idea how much worry and work he is causing other people. His parents probably haven't slept since he disappeared. Other campers have had their holidays disrupted. The emergency search and rescue services have had to do over time. Everyone is aware that it may yet have a tragic end.
I hope not. I hope they find him today. I hope they find him standing there staring up at some small bird and seeing in it more than most people will ever see. I hope that, somewhere in his differently wired brain, he will remember his experience without fear.