Missing autistic teen's body found 32 hours later after brothers were barred from searching him due to Covid-19

The teen went for his daily jog and reportedly promised his family that he would return in 15 minutes

                            Missing autistic teen's body found 32 hours later after brothers were barred from searching him due to Covid-19
William Wall (Victoria Police)

A high-functioning autistic teenager, William Wall, was found dead on Wednesday, September 23, nearly 32 hours after he went missing in dense bushland. Wall, a 14-year-old, disappeared after he went out for his daily jog at 6.45 am on Tuesday, September 22 along the Yarra Ranges' Warburton Trail in Melbourne, Australia. The teen reportedly promised his family that he would return in 15 minutes, but he never did.

Victoria Police, in a statement, confirmed that the boy's body had been found in Yarra Junction on September 23 afternoon during the second day of the search. Wall's death is currently not being treated as suspicious as authorities suspect no foul play. It is believed that teen's body was found at the end of a residential street less than two kilometers from his home.

Officials, within hours of Wall's disappearance, launched an air and ground search, which involved around 100 personnel from Victoria Police and the State Emergency Service. During the search, however, police enforced Melbourne's stage four coronavirus restrictions, which barred people from going beyond a five-kilometer radius from their home. The restrictions meant that Wall's two older brothers and his friends, who spent Tuesday night, September 22, looking for the teen on dirt bikes, had to stop their search on September 23.

The teen's older brother, Harrison, while speaking to Seven News, said: "We've been told by all the police that we're not allowed to help because we're beyond the five kilometre radius, which is going to put more of a delay in finding him." Meanwhile a family friend, Flynn Cousens, said: "I'd rather go outside the five kilometre radius and find him than stick to five kilometres and let him stay out there another night."

After the tragic news of Wall's death broke, another family friend Tyson Truscott said that the Walls family would be shattered by the news. "He was a great kid. There is nothing bad about him. He loved going for runs, he went flat out," Truscott told Herald Sun. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also released a statement on incident, calling it very sad news. Morrison took to Twitter on Wednesday night, writing: "My heart goes out to William’s family and loved ones. Thank you to all those who were involved in the search."


Shortly after authorities enforced coronavirus restrictions in the region amidst the search for Walls, locals in the area fumed at the limitations. One person wrote on Twitter: "I’m lost for words for William Wall. I’m shocked, sad, and agitated. @VictoriaPolice flex their muscles on freedom protestors and kneel behind BLM. Then demand volunteers to abide by curfew. While @DanielAndrewsMP says to ask social media for help... It will not be forgotten!" While another added: "It’s a truly sad state of affairs when Victoria Police can deploy hundreds of police at a moment’s notice to arrest lockdown protestors, but cannot & will not accept help when a boy goes missing. William Wall deserves better. Victoria deserves better."



A post on the Eyewatch Yarra Ranges Police Facebook read on September 22 night: "In line with coronavirus restrictions, at this stage we do not require any assistance from the public. We want to say a big thank you however, for all the offers we have received."

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