Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Missing Child Matthew Allen Found in Bad Shape

Matthew Allen, lucky to be alive.

Matthew Allen, lucky to be alive.

Matthew Allen, 18, of Westleigh, Australia, who was reported missing by his mother on November 27, 2012, has been found more than two months after disappearing. Lucky to be alive in the extreme heat, the teen would likely not have survived for much longer.

When he ran away two months ago, a mentally-ill Matthew reportedly “didn’t want to be found. He wanted to run away from his life.” Matthew had left without taking extra clothes and had left behind his cell phone. Searchers in helicopters and with dogs combed the bush around the teen’s home and the area around his school for weeks, but found nothing.

Given the record-breaking heat, the lack of shelter, and wild fires in the area, Matthew’s family and authorities feared the worst. Hornsby Detective Inspector Glyn Baker told reporters, “Anyone who is missing for that length of time in those kind of conditions, you wouldn’t expect to see them again.” Luckily for Matthew on January 26, 2013, he was spotted lying in the bush about a mile from his home by hikers, who immediately called for help.

Matthew was alive, but in bad shape. He had lost about half of his body weight, was dehydrated, partially blind, covered with leeches and suffering from gangrene in his lower extremities. He said that he had only survived by drinking from a creek that, by the time he was rescued, was nearly dry. He was airlifted to Hornsby Hospital, in Sydney’s north, where doctors determined that none of his injuries was life-threatening. His stunned family is happy to have him back.

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