>Benjamin “Benjy” Heil went missing Thursday night from his rural home in Saratoga, Wisconsin. Searchers, including local people, officials, and even bloodhounds, have been scouring the area for any sign of him. His footprints were spotted, and someone found a ball that may have been his, but other than that, Benjy has been gone from home in this hot, muggy, stormy weather.
Benjy has autism. He is somewhat nonverbal, from reports, and will not respond to his name. Searchers will have to make visual contact to know they’ve found him, since he will not answer their calls.
This story is scary on so many counts. Any seven year old is in danger if he’s been missing for four days and nights. He is lost in rather unforgiving territory, too. Within walking range of this young boy, last seen barefoot and in shorts and t-shirt, are a campground, woods, and the Wisconsin River, not to mention bogs and marshes.
I keep hoping he’s holed up in a doghouse, shed, or hunting cabin. I don’t like to think of the river.
Keep searching, people. And Benjy’s parents: please keep hoping. I’ll be thinking of you and hoping, too.
update: While not precisely good news, at least it’s not worse news. Searchers have almost ruled out the possibility of Benji’s falling in the river. They believe he’s on land.