Community comes together to remember life of 6-year-old autistic boy found dead in Buckingham County

BUCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – The Buckingham County community has come together to remember the life of 6-year-old Landon “Waldy” Raber, who went missing and was found dead Monday morning.

Landon’s family reported him missing 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 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.

Landon Raber. Credit: The AWARE Foundation, Inc.

“We’ve been able to do everything from, you know, your generalized searches on the big lines just to cover this square footage in these large areas, to your focused efforts in the bottoms of streams and things like that,” said Cody Davis, the incident commander and leader. from the Buckingham County Department of Emergency Services.

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 thorough Davis has ever seen, but he thanked the community for their willingness to help.

“It was a lot to deal with in terms of space and size. And if we hadn’t been lucky enough to have as many people as we did, things would have been a bit more difficult,” said Davis said.

The Buckingham County Sheriff’s Office said an aerial drone and other assets, including a Virginia State Police fixed-wing aircraft, were deployed for the search. There has also been immense community support since the time of the research, with volunteers helping out at a rally held at the family’s ice cream truck in Farmville, known for its autism and Down syndrome awareness.

“It paints a perfect picture of Buckingham County as a community. We’re a very tight-knit group that has its positives and negatives, and I think last night was a stark representation of a positive,” Davis said.