Ten days ago, Joey Peterson wandered out of his parents’ rural Wyoming house wearing a sweatshirt and pajama pants.
It wasn’t nearly enough to protect him from the brutal cold, which has dipped well below freezing.
Now authorities are scouring the remote wilderness by both ground and sky in hopes of finding the 16-year-old boy with autism.
“Joseph is autistic and functions at a higher level, but is not self-sufficient and does not problem solve at an age-appropriate level,” Natrona County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Ellis said.
He said the teen does not comprehend how actions have consequences.
“Joseph was not dressed for the weather, and it’s believed Joseph was last seen wearing a red-hooded sweatshirt and pajama pants,” Ellis said.
He may not be wearing shoes, authorities said.
Crews have already searched about 240 square miles of the remote terrain. On Saturday, a team found footprints believed to be Joey’s miles away from his home, the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office said.
“That track provided a general direction of travel through very steep mountainous terrain, and a comprehensive search of that area is ongoing.”
On Tuesday, “additional footprints and suspected footprints have been located,” the sheriff’s department said. “Search teams comprised of mounted searchers, tracking experts, and K9 teams are converging from both sides of an area where Joey is believed to have walked toward.”
Searchers are also using drones to try to find the teenager.
Authorities don’t suspect foul play in Joey’s disappearance, Ellis said.
The 16-year-old is about 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds.
Joey has no cell phone or communication devices with him, Ellis said. Authorities ask anyone with information on Joey’s whereabouts to call (307) 235-9300.