He always calls to say if he is coming home early or unexpectedly; it always amuses me, as if he is giving me some sort of warning in case I might be caught out doing something I shouldn’t! In this situation, he was coming home early to change into his SES (State Emergency Service volunteer gig) gear to help participate in a search for a missing child.
There was a two year old autistic boy who had wandered off from his home when tradesmen had accidently left the front door open; the boy was fairly non-vocal. I must admit that when I heard about it, I immediately thought that the child would be drawn to water (a fairly common thing) and I hoped that they would find him quickly before something tragic happened.
The police mobilised the whole community, who also helped to search and social media spread the word. My husband was out for over twelve hours and I stayed at home, looking online and recognising my friends on the various news bulletins.
He came home eventually twelve hours later, exhausted. The search continued throughout the night but I didn’t have a good feeling about it and Wayne confirmed that their search techniques were so comprehensive and so thorough that either the child had been taken by somebody or he wasn’t wandering around lost.
All throughout yesterday and through the night and this morning they had divers searching any nearby bodies of water as part of the search effort and I fully expected to hear an announcement that the little boy had been found. This morning, around 10 am, that is exactly what happened.
He was found in a lake around a km and a half away from his home. He had probably walked straight there and drowned yesterday morning before the search team had even mobilised.
The SES are all terribly sad about it, even though they know they did their best. Most of their searches end up positive but this was for a child, which makes it worse. And for my husband, who has raised an autistic child of his own, I think this might hit harder than most.