By Romy Stephens
Police are searching for a teenager with high functioning autism after he went missing in Launching Place today.
William Wall was last seen leaving for his daily walk on the Warburton Trail about 6.45am.
Police said the 14-year-old told his family he would be gone for 15 minutes but he has not returned home or been seen since.
Acting Sergeant Jordan Kavanagh said William’s disappearance was “out of character.”
Sgt Kavanagh said anyone who sees William should immediately call Triple-Zero and approach him calmly.
“He’s a 14-year-old boy with autism so concerns are held there but if anyone approaches him, just a calm manner to speak to him, that approach should work well,” he said.
It’s understood police are searching the Warburton area after receiving a possible sighting that matched William’s description.
“It’s the Yarra Ranges, it’s quite a vast area, there’s a lot of difficult terrain to overcome,” Sgt Kavanagh said.
“It’s quite a heavily treed canopy as well but we have been utilising our Air Wing services and we’ve actually got the special solo unit out here as well going along the different tracks
“We’ve had a possible sighting from a credible witness we believe in the Warburton area which has given us quite a good place to start as well so that’s narrowed it down a little.
“He’s believed to be sighted on a trail above Warburton the Aqueduct Trail, that’s the last sighting we have.”
Police and family hold serious concerns for William’s welfare as he may become disorientated without food due to the length of time he has been missing.
The Air Wing, Specialist Solo’s Unit and local uniform members are being supported by the State Emergency Services in searching for William.
Sgt Kavanagh said crews would be able to work through the night if needed, with capabilities to detect heat during the night if needed.
William is described as being 177cm tall, with a lean build, mousy brown hair and has a lazy right eye.
He was last seen wearing a dark hooded jumper, dark-coloured track pants, black runners and had a hydration pack across his chest.
Investigators have released a photo of William in the hope someone may recognise him and be able to provide information on his whereabouts.
Anyone who sees William or with information is urged to contact Triple-Zero or Mooroolbark Police Station on 9725 9999.