ST. GEORGE, UTAH (ABC 4 News) – The sister of a Colorado autistic man, who wandered around alone in the Utah desert for three weeks, says her brother is recovering at a St. George hospital.
William Lafever was spotted sitting in the Escalante River - about five miles from Lake Powell - on Thursday. He had survived on river water, roots and frogs.
Lisa Lafever, William’s younger sister says he was found in the nick of time. "Had it gone another day, with his condition, he wouldn't be here today." Lisa says her 28-year-old brother was close to dying when he was spotted by UHP pilot Shane Oldfield. When we spoke with Oldfield he was shocked to find William alive. "He was attempting to wave. It was pretty meager. He didn't have much strength left in him"
Lisa says William will need some time to be back at one hundred percent. "He wants to get his strength back and feel better. He's well aware that he's in bad shape."
While she is certainly thankful that William was found alive – she says she is actually not surprised. She says despite being autistic, that’s the type of person her older brother has always been. "My brother is a survivor. He will find a way. That is the craziest thing about him. Where there is a will – there’s a way."
Oldfield says he saw that will when he found the William. He says despite his weakened state, William did not want get in the helicopter and get to the hospital. Oldfield says he wanted to sit and eat and drink for 15 minutes first. He says he was eventually able to get William to compromise to an eight minute meal. "He ate his granola bar and drank his Gatorade and we loaded him up."
ABC 4 News questioned Lisa about the time period between the last contact with William - around June 7th - and the call to authorities. She says William had supplies and really "wanted to make the trip alone." She says her father had spoken to William last, but she had grown concerned and was the one who called authorities on July 7th.