How this non-verbal autistic man was rescued from the northern Ontario bush – CBC

Kaelan Shawana, 24, walked around for hours before OPP helicopter located him

Mar 14, 2024

Kaelan Shawana’s family feared the worst after the 24-year-old left his Manitowaning home on Monday in northern Ontario and was nowhere to be found.

The non-verbal autistic man from Wikwemikong First Nation is a big guy at 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds but functions at the level of a seven-year-old, according to his father, Robbie Shawana.

“He doesn’t understand danger. He has no fear.”

Kaelan sometimes wanders off, especially to go to the nearby playground. He usually wears a GPS tracker so his family can easily locate him.

But on Monday afternoon, he changed his outfit before heading out, leaving his tracker behind.

By the time his family started to realize something was wrong, the sun was going down.

“I was panicking knowing he wasn’t dressed for the night and it was only going to get colder,” said Robbie, whose son was only wearing an orange golf shirt despite subzero temperatures.

“That part really scared me.”

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