Man with autism found safe after two-day search


A 29-year-old man with autism was found safe Monday after being lost in the woods near Bleecker Mountain for two days.

Bruce Williams went into the woods and entered a lake where he went missing. Over 48 hours later, he was reunited with his family.

“Trouble. A lot of trouble,” he called Chase Lake. “Saturday, I was lost in the woods for a while. Then I found my way to the campsite at the lake and hopped into the lake, and then I started drifting.”

But Bruce didn’t know just how strong the current in the lake was when he dipped in to beat the weekend heat. He also didn’t know how many people gathered to search for him in the woods near his camp or just how much his family worried for him.

“Just being scared, in the dark, he had nothing to eat,” his brother Tom Williams said. “I just can’t even imagine.”

Bruce said he spent the majority of two days floating in the lake on his back to stay cool and drank only lake water to survive.

“I wasn’t sure what to eat in the woods and what not to eat in the woods,” he said.

But he was sure he should stay near water thanks to his Eagle Scout training.

“Without him being a Boy Scout or even an Eagle Scout, he wouldn’t have the survival skills to be able to survive out in the woods by himself,” Tom said.

Bruce said he felt instant relief when a rescue team found him on Monday night.

“They came over in the boat and called over to me,” he said. “It was a sign of relief.”

Now Bruce is home and surrounded by family. His mother said she has countless people to thank for his return.

“Seventy-six people to look for him today was pretty amazing,” Janet Williams said. “And I gotta admit, the forest rangers were excellent. They spent a whole night looking for him.”

And as for Bruce. What are his plans now?

“Just stay here and no more woods,” he said.

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