WATCH: A massive search party, including a police canine unit, fire and search and rescue crews, scoured an area in Metchosin Wednesday morning. April Lawrence was there.
West Shore RCMP officers, including a police canine unit, scoured a heavily wooded area in Metchosin Wednesday after 14-year-old Chad Sullivan was reported missing around 10 a.m.
Metchosin Search and Rescue set up a command post at the Blinkhorn Nature Park where Metchosin fire crews were searching on their ATV.
“They did the main trails in the Blinkhorn Park area there’s quite a trail network in there, so every trail they could take their vehicle on, their ATV, they did,” said Metchosin Search and Rescue Manager Linda Hillard.
What was making the search even more challenging is that Chad has autism and is non-verbal.
“My concern is they’re afraid and they’re not going to respond and they’re going to hide so we could walk right past them in this thick vegetation,” said Hillard.
A couple hours went by which felt like days for the teen’s terrified family.
“When I found out he was missing I went into a full blown panic attack all I could think was wilderness, forest, which direction did he go, bears, cougars, oh my lord, he’s lost in there,” said Chad’s mother Lori Sullivan.
One of the searchers read a message on Facebook that he has just been found safe and a police car picked up the 14-year-old alive and well only about five blocks away from where he went missing.
Chad was smiling and playing shortly after being reunited with his family and the friends who found him.
He picked up a pair of electrical cords somewhere along his brief adventure.
“He was totally oblivious to what happened, he was just playing with his cords, he doesn’t understand police cars, police, people, he just knows playing,” said his mother.
Sullivan said she was with her son at his friend?s house when they turned their back for just a moment and he had vanished.
“We almost lost him, we could have lost him, and the thought of losing him was just like I don’t know I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” she said.
Once relief started to sink in, Chad’s family had a message for the search volunteers.
“I’m so full of gratitude for all the people out there trying to find them, I can’t thank them enough, they’re a godsend,” said Lori.