Autistic Man Survives 3-Week, 40-Mile Desert Ordeal
William LaFever ran out of food, ate frogs and roots
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 13, 2012 1:30 PM CDT
In a 1996 file photo, the serpentine Escalante River carves its way through sandstone landscape on its way to Lake Powell about 40 miles away to the south.   (AP Photo/Salt Lake Tribune, Al Hartmann, File)

(Newser) – An autistic man lived on a few frogs he caught and roots as he wandered for weeks in the remote Escalante Desert of southern Utah until being rescued, emaciated but alive. William Martin LaFever, 28, of Colorado Springs, told rescuers that in addition to the bits of food he scavenged, he drank water from the Escalante River while attempting to walk from Boulder, Utah, to Page, Ariz., a distance of approximately 90 miles by the route he was taking. The Garfield County Sheriff's Department estimated he had traveled about 40 miles over at least three weeks before he was found yesterday.

LaFever had been hiking in the Boulder area on June 6 or 7 when he called his father to say he'd run out of money and someone had stolen some of his gear. His father told him he would wire money to him in Page, and instructed LaFever to catch a ride there. Instead, he decided to hike, and his family soon lost contact with him. A deputy says he would not have survived another 24 hours.