William Callaghan was last seen about 2.20pm on Monday.
William Callaghan was last seen about 2.20pm on Monday.

Desperate search for missing teenager with autism

More than 300 people have joined the search for a Melbourne teenager lost at Mount Disappointment since Monday afternoon.

Victoria Police say the situation is "very concerning" and they are battling "life threatening" conditions to find William Callaghan after temperatures plummeted below zero last night.

The 14-year-old autistic teen, who goes by Will, was last seen on the south side of the Mount Disappointment summit, 60km north of Melbourne, about 2.20pm Monday.

Police have launched an air and ground search for the teen, who is non verbal. They say thick undergrowth is hampering the visibility of their searches.

Christine Lalor from Victoria Police said the situation is "very concerning" after he spent a night missing after disappearing from the freezing hiking spot north west of Melbourne.

"This is very concerning. Obviously, it's been a cold night.

Senior Sergeant Greg Paul says the search for William is a race against time. Picture: David Crosling/AAP
Senior Sergeant Greg Paul says the search for William is a race against time. Picture: David Crosling/AAP

"And, you know, for the family and everyone involved, very concerning …. obviously we want to find William as soon as possible."

Senior Sergeant Greg Paul said there was "no sugar coating" how difficult the conditions had been.

"It was a very cold night last night, life-threatening cold, no doubt about that, down to zero, or close to zero.

"However, there is opportunity to try and seek a bit of shelter. This is very thick bush here. We've got bushfire regrowth so the vegetation is very thick, which actually hampers searches.

"It's difficult to search through the thick undergrowth here."

They said he was non-verbal and did not have any food or water with him.

Police have launched an air and ground search at Mount Disappointment. Picture: David Crosling
Police have launched an air and ground search at Mount Disappointment. Picture: David Crosling


"He is also not dressed for the elements of a cold evening," police said in a statement.

Victoria Police said William is very energetic and "could cover a lot of distance".

"He's also very food focused," a police spokesperson said in a statement.

"It would not be out of the question for William to walk into a house and go to the fridge or cupboard and help himself to food. He might also try to put himself to bed.

"So we are asking residents nearby and in the vicinity of Mount Disappointment to check bedrooms and outhouses."

Mount Disappointment is an 800m mountain, located on the southern end of the Great Dividing Range.

Anyone who sees Will is urged to call triple-0.



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