7-Year-Old Boy with Autism Found in Critical Condition

By Nicole Hegewald

Saturday, December 5, 2009, 7-year-old James Delorey chased the families dog, Chance, into nearby woods in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. James has autism and is non-verbal making him very unlikely to call for help or respond to calls. He was found earlier this morning, December 7, 2009, after two days of frantic searching.

According to an emergency health official James was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital in Sydney, NS. The temperature on Saturday hovered around 3, then dropped to 0 on Sunday, and had dropped to -3 by Monday morning. James is currently in critical condition with hypothermia. James Delorey

The dog returned home on Monday, but the search was ongoing. Police with tracking dogs, firefighters, soldiers and even civilian neighbors made up the hundreds of people that had volunteered in the desperate attempt to find James. Employees from Delorey’s school, Harbourside Elementary also chipped in; helping in the search or provide food for searchers. They searched the neighboring woods, shore, and surrounding homes with no prevail.

“The snow is off and on and sometimes it’s heavy and it’s not,” Desiree Vassallo, a Cape Breton Regional Police spokeswoman said. “Definitely, time is not on our side. We’re still holding out hope and we’re still looking for James.”

A Cormorant search-and rescue helicopter with night-vision equipment, from Canadian Forces Base Greenwood, was also going to assist in the search. However, because of the inclement weather on Sunday morning, the helicopter was unable to help at that time. It was able to lift off later in the day. The volunteer team was following a trail on foot of what they believed were the boy’s footprints, but the heavy snow made continuing impossible.

Picture provided by Unhindered by Talent on flickr

Picture provided by Unhindered by Talent on flickr

“Everybody is doing what they can to find this boy,” said Vasallo. “We have no plans to quit.”

The clothes James was wearing were not meant to protect him from the harsh winter weather, making the hunt more frenzied. He had on dark jeans, a red T-shirt, a dark blue plaid shirt, a grey vest, a shiny belt and black sneakers with glow-in-the-dark stickers on them. We are all hoping for a full recovery for the boy.

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2 Comments

  1. Amy Trail
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    CAPE BRETON POST
    December 14, 2009 12:05 a.m.
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    Text size A seven-year-old Cape Breton boy whose tragic ordeal touched the hearts of many Canadians will be buried today.

    James Delorey captured national attention when he followed his dog, Chance, into a wooded area near his South Bar home near Sydney last weekend.

    Delorey was not wearing winter clothes and was found after a two-day search huddled in a thick spruce stand. In addition, the boy was autistic and non-communicative.

    The dog returned home on Monday — two days after the pair wandered out and searchers from Halifax search and rescue were able to trace his prints to near where Delorey was eventually found. He was then airlifted to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax where he died several hours later due to severe hypothermia.

    His funeral is today at 2 p.m. at Holy Redeemer Church in Whitney Pier.

    More about James Delorey

  2. allyson shogren
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    this is so sad, my heart and prayers go out to the family of this sweet boy. it also brings back nightmares of our autistic son(robbie now 23) wandered away from home he was 9 years old and was gone for a misserable 3 1/2 hours, i know he had angels with him as he crossed two major streets and walked along a river..

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