An air and ground search for a teenage boy missing in dense bushland east of Melbourne has been unsuccessful so far.
William Wall, 14, left his Launching Place home about 7am on Tuesday to go for his daily walk in the Yarra Ranges.
The teenager told his family he would be gone for 15 minutes but never returned.
William, who has high functioning autism and is verbal, left home without his mobile phone and police are concerned for his welfare, but are heartened by the fact he knows the area well.
“Everyone is hoping at the moment that he will be ok,” William’s father, Shane Wall, said on Tuesday night.
“I want to get him home.”
The air and ground search involving local police, including some on horseback, and the State Emergency Service is continuing on Sept 23.
Local volunteers, like Gabriella Jago, are also keen to be involved.
“I’m currently 17 weeks’ pregnant, so I’m becoming a parent for the first time myself,” she told Nine Network.
“I thought, if that was my kid out there, I would want everyone with their boots on the ground, having a look and trying to help.”
Searchers have concentrated on the Warburton Rail Trail, which runs about 40 km from Lilydale to Warburton, which covers difficult terrain, and the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail above Warburton.
William is described as 177cm tall, with a lean build, mousy brown hair and a lazy right eye.
His family said he was wearing a dark hooded jumper, dark-coloured track pants, black runners and had a CamelBak hydration backpack.
William’s disappearance comes three months after another teenage boy with non-verbal autism was rescued after two nights in freezing bushland near Mt Disappointment.
William Callaghan, 14, was found by local bushman Ben Gibbs, suffering from exposure and a few injuries but otherwise well.