The desperate search to find William Wall (pictured) continues after he didn’t return home
The emotional father of an autistic boy who went missing in dense bushland has asked locals to leave out protein bars and revealed how to gain his trust.
William Wall, 14, was last seen heading out for his daily jog along the Yarra Ranges’ Warburton Trail at 6.45am on Tuesday, promising his family he would be back in 15 minutes.
But he never returned to his home in Launching Place.
More than 24-hours after his disappearance, hundreds of police and State Emergency Service volunteers are still prowling the bush in search of him.
William’s distraught father Shane issued an emotional plea and told locals who have offered to help that the high-functioning autistic teen will stay away from junk food.
‘He doesn’t like junk food, he prefers protein bars and fruit, that type of thing, he would go for that and it would be like catching a rat in a trap, not a problem,’ he told reporters on Wednesday.
He advised people to remain calm if they do see William and tell him that his ‘mum wants to talk to him’.
Bush Search and Rescue Victoria volunteers prepare to depart the Warburton Police station ahead of the search for missing autistic boy William Wall
William’s distraught father Shane issued an emotional plea and told locals who have offered to help that the high-functioning autistic teen will stay away from junk food
‘Probably responds a bit better than coming to me in most cases, but just call him Will or William either way – he doesn’t respond to Bill,’ the distraught father said.
‘Just in a calm voice tell him “we have got health food bars for you mate, they’re yours, come and get them and we want you home”.’
Mr Wall struggled to fight back tears as he thanked volunteers, police, the SES and family members who had been searching all night.
‘I just want everyone to be safe,’ he said.
‘I never want to be in this situation but the people around here are fantastic. I mean, I’ve been in the valley for a long time and come from overseas but this has just blown me away.’
‘Actual support from local people, the Facebook community and the noticeboards and that, fantastic. Top notch and the police and SES, again, it has been great.’
‘I have hardly spoken to my wife much but they are liaising with them to look after her and I’m out helping where I can.’
William has a ten-year-old sister named Sophie, and two older brothers Jake, 17, and Harrison, 20, who have been out all night.
With the search taking more than 24-hours, Mr Wall says his son is a ‘pretty hardcore’ 14-year-old, who usually runs up to 30km.
Mr Wall struggled to fight back tears as he thanked volunteers, police, the SES and family members who had been searching all night
Bush Search and Rescue Victoria volunteers arrive to the Warburton Police state ahead of the search for missing autistic boy William Wall, in the Yarra Ranges, Melbourne
As the search entered its second day, many locals were left fuming after being advised to keep an eye out for William, but not to breach Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions by limiting outdoor time to two hours.
‘In line with coronavirus restrictions, at this stage we do not require any assistance from the public,’ a post on the Eyewatch Yarra Ranges Police Facebook read.
‘We want to say a big thank you however, for the all the offers we have received.’
Inspector Jason Goddard told 3AW they were encouraging residents to keep on the look out while out exercising and to report any sightings to Triple Zero immediately.
‘We really do want the local residents within this area to check their backyards and check their structures.’
Local resident Tom Osburg said he was willing to break COVID-19 restrictions to assist in the search.
He believes search parties made up by local volunteers were a valuable resource.
In June, autistic boy William Callaghan, was found by a lone volunteer after he went missing at Mount Disappointment.
Police have advised volunteers to stay home saying: ‘At this stage we do not require any assistance from the public’
Volunteer Ben Gibbs was hailed a national Australian hero after finding William Callaghan in think bush near the summit of Mount Disappointment in June
The teenager went out for his daily morning jog along the Warburton Trail (pictured) around 6.45am Tuesday morning but hasn’t been seen since
The autistic non-verbal teenager spent two days in treacherous bushland before being found by volunteer Ben Gibbs.
Mr Osburg said Melburnians should be given an exemption to be able to go and check their holiday homes for William Wall.
‘Let people come up, just for a couple of hours from Melbourne, just to check their holiday homes.’
Rescue crews spent Tuesday night searching the area after temperatures plummeted to just 4C.
While William is autistic, he is high-functioning and can communicate verbally.
He’s described as 177cm tall, being of slim build, having mousy brown hair and a lazy right eye.
He was last seen wearing a dark hoodie, dark-coloured track pants, black running shoes and had a hydration pack across his chest.
Autistic boy William Wall, 14, is missing in Victoria’s Yarra Ranges, with emergency crews searching for him throughout the night