BUCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The community in Buckingham County gathered to remember the life of 6-year-old Landon “Waldy” Raber, who went missing and was later found dead Monday morning.
The family of Landon reported his disappearance and mentioned that he was diagnosed with autism and Down syndrome and was non-verbal.
Landon’s family reported that he was last seen near the area of 4650 New Stone Road in Buckingham around 8 p.m. on Sunday, July 10. Local authorities, including all Buckingham County volunteer fire departments, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Search and Rescue and Virginia State Police assisted in the search overnight.
“We were able to do everything from, you know, your widespread mainline searches just to cover that square footage in those big areas, to your focused efforts in the creek bottoms and things like that,” said Cody Davis, the Incident Commander and Chief of the Department of Emergency Services for Buckingham County.
The child was found dead in a pond on the property where he was last seen at 5:30 a.m., according to the county sheriff’s office. The overnight search was one of the most extensive that Davis had ever seen, but he credited the community for their eagerness to help.
“It was a lot to process in terms of space and size. And if we weren’t fortunate enough to have the amount of folks come out that we did, things would have been a little bit more difficult,” Davis said.
The Buckingham County Sheriff’s Office said an aerial drone and other resources, including a fixed-wing aircraft from Virginia State Police, were deployed for the search. There was also an immense amount of community support from the time of the search, with volunteers helping out to a gathering held at the family’s ice cream truck in Farmville, which was known for spreading awareness to autism and down syndrome.
“It does paint a perfect picture of Buckingham County as a community. We’re a very close-knit group that has its positives and its negatives, and I think last night was a glaring depiction of a positive,” Davis said.