BAKER COUNTY, Fla. — The 8-year-old boy with autism, missing since Saturday afternoon, has been found alive.
Authorities found Peyton Blodgett under a bush about a half-mile behind his grandmother's home Monday afternoon.
A helicopter pilot first spotted the boy from the air, then guided ground teams to his location.
A JSO officer scooped up the boy and carried him to a truck, according to search teams.
Sheriff Joey Dobson said the boy appeared dehydrated and scared.
"Best day I had in 18 years," said Dobson, who led an all-out search for the little boy since family members reported him missing Saturday afternoon.
The boy's mother told Action News reporter Deanna Bettineschi that she knew it all along that he would be found alive.
Peyton was moved to Wolfson Children's Hospital for further treatment. As of Monday night, he was still listed as being in critical condition.
The FBI brought in a body heat detecting device for the search.
Authorities used the device as part of an aerial search over the woods near his grandmother’s house where he was last seen Saturday afternoon.
The Baker County Sheriff's Office said 11 agencies helped out in the search, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the FBI, and Florida Department of Corrections. The sheriff's office also enlisted the child's father, who lives in Gainesville, and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to assist.
Peyton Blodgett's mother, Brittany Blodgett, posted to the Action News Facebook wall and asked, "Please come volunteer to search the woods."
The BCSO said Clay County Emergency Management leaders worked to set up teams of volunteers to help in the search.
The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department search and rescue dogs joinined the search Monday morning, as well as aircraft, said BCSO.
According to a BCSO police report, Blodgett had a history of hiding, which makes this situation even scarier for family and friends.
“This wouldn’t be the first time Peyton has ventured off into the woods. Peyton is tough but tomorrow is day 3. He has to come home,” said Brittany Blodgett in the message.
Investigators had been over the grandmother’s home several times, even bringing in K-9 units to help search.
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Action News spoke to Peyton Blodgett's mother Brittany on Monday night and she said doctors are monitoring his kidneys closely.
"If the kidneys do fail, that just means they're going to have to do dialysis. That is a big word and we don't know what it means, but we know it is not death and Peyton will come out of it," Brittany Blodgett said.
Brittany Blodgett said the family needs continued prayer.
"I'm thanking God number one and all these people that seeked out and helped me and helped Peyton and begged God and the people that are still asking him now."
Peyton's mom said though he is suffering severe dehydration, he's a fighter and she knows he will make it through stronger than ever.
"This is the hospital that he had a team of doctors here six years ago and this is the hospital that kept him alive when he was born, so I'm confident he is at the best place he can be," she said.
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