June 20, 2007

Benjy's Death

For the last few days, while I was focusing on the drama playing itself out on the front page of the New York Times, a more important drama has been playing itself out in the back ground. The search for missing autistic 7 year old Benji Heil who walked out of his home last Thursday night and who had hundreds of people, including our own Nancy Cale of Unlocking Autism, coordinating search efforts and walking for miles to find him.

The search ended yesterday in tragedy. Benjy's body was found, were we all worried it would be, in the water. Our children love the water.

Officially it is said that people with autism live a normal life span. Autism parents who see this same story happen over and over again believe that that official opinion is not based on any study of what actually happens to these children.

This is another example of what I believe is the primary reason that a "cure" for autism now is so important, that this world is a dangerous place for people with autism.

In our last home Chandler had gotten good at getting out of the house, even climbing the kitchen cabinets and out a high window. One of the reasons we bought the house we live in now is that it is not an open floor plan, it has lots of rooms, all with doors that close. We have installed locks on some of the inner rooms so that to get out of the house from any exit, he has to get through two locked doors.

But there have been two times that we forgot one lock and the neighbors have brought him back over to us when he knocked on their door because he wanted to play.

Thank God he headed for their house and not for the water.

Our condolences and prayers go out to Benjy's family and all that are grieving him.

Body of missing autistic boy recovered in Wisconsin
Associated Press

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis.— The discovery of a 7-year-old autistic boy's body in a pond not far from his home Tuesday ended a community search effort that drew hundreds of volunteers each day since he disappeared last week.

Even those who weren't in on the organized search for Benjamin "Benjy'' Heil stayed on the lookout for him since he vanished Thursday, said town of Nekoosa resident Darcy Peckham, 33.

"It's a tragedy that this whole community is going to have a hard time getting through,'' said the mother of six. "I've got children of my own that age, and it just makes you realize how close that family is. You realize that, wow, in a split second it can all be gone.''

Wood County sheriff's Lt. Dave Laude said the boy was found about 11 a.m. in a pond adjacent to Ten Mile Creek less than a quarter mile from his town of Saratoga home. A search dog led to the discovery, he said.

Wood County Coroner Garry Kronstedt said an autopsy was scheduled Thursday in Portage.

The boy had been playing in the basement when his family realized Thursday evening that he was gone and called authorities.

Hundreds of people turned out each day to look for the boy.

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