An autistic boy has been found dead after disappearing while allegedly thinking he was playing hide and seek.
Police said they found the body of 11-year-old Draven Graham in a river a day after he wandered away from his home.
The boy, who was not verbal, was last seen walking down the street in the town of Lindsay in southeastern Ontario, Canada.
Draven’s father had said Justin said his son had snuck out of the family home while he was shaving in the bathroom.
“He wasn’t on the couch where he was before I went in there,” Graham told CP24 News.
“I asked my daughter if he was in her room and she said ‘no’.”
He said he then went to the front door but noticed it was unlocked.
During the search, Draven’s father said he remained optimistic that the boy was playing a game of hide-and-seek that had lasted far longer than anyone would like.
The father explained that due to his condition, Draven often hid and loved parks and the outdoors.
“It’s probably all just a big game for him, but it’s not for us,” Graham told local news site Parry Sound.
“He probably thinks he’s just playing with Dad.”
The distraught dad added: “This is the longest he’s been away.”
A manhunt was launched on the day of his disappearance, and his clothing, dark sweatpants and blue t-shirt were discovered.
Graham said this did not indicate that his son went swimming in the nearby Scugog River, but rather that Draven took off his clothes because they were damp.
“Because it was raining he got wet and he doesn’t like being … in (wet) clothes. Most autistic children don’t like that,” the father said at the time.
While suffering from high-functioning autism, Draven only spoke in small sentences and did not respond well to his name.
The search teams had to take this into account when searching the riverbank, paths and backyards.
After the Ontario Volunteer Emergency Response Team joined the search Monday, Ontario Provincial Police confirmed they had discovered a body in the Sucogog River.
Draven’s body was discovered by the police’s Underwater Search and Recovery Unit.
“The investigation is ongoing, but no foul play is suspected,” Kawartha Lakes Police said in a tweet.
“Everyone involved has a heavy heart at this time. We encourage each of you to continue to support the family and allow them to grieve during this traumatic time,” Kawartha Lakes Police Sergeant Deb Hagarty said in the tweet.
“We want to thank everyone in the community for all of their support.”
A memorial was erected in Draven’s honor at Rivera Park in Lindsay.
A petition has also been started to create a “Draven Alert” for missing autistic and vulnerable/special children in Draven’s honor – as Ambert Alert is only used for abducted children.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5559936/draven-graham-autistic-boy-body-found-canada/ Body of missing autistic boy, 11, found in river as haunting details about his final moments are revealed