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Rescued hiker hungry but alert, mom says

  • Story Highlights
  • Missing hiker's mom said he was hungry but "awake and alert"
  • Jacob Allen was found lying in a clearing on Thursday
  • Rescuer: He was hungry and thirsty and fatigued
  • Hundreds of volunteers had been searching for Jacob Allen since Sunday
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(CNN) -- An ice cream party is in the future for an autistic young man rescued after four cold days in the West Virginia wilderness without food or water.

Rescuers found Jacob Allen, 18, sleeping in a clearing on Thursday. He was hungry and weak, but in otherwise good condition. They gave him candy bars and peanut butter sandwiches before bringing him down the mountain.

His mother, Karen Allen, spent the night with him in the hospital and told CNN's "American Morning" that Jacob was restless and hungry.

"I'm tired because I was up all night with him, but I'm happy that he was awake and alert and asking for food and water," she said.

Jacob's autism complicated the search. The teen is non-verbal and The Associated Press reports that he has the mental capacity of a 3- or 4-year-old. Video Watch Jacob's family describe their relief »

His family was concerned that he would not be able to shout out to the people looking for him, so rescuers offered ice cream and candy in hopes of drawing him into the open.

"Everybody on the mountain was saying 'Jay, we're going to get you some ice cream, come on,'" his mother said. "And here we didn't have any ice cream up there, we're up in a rural area of West Virginia, so we'll have an ice cream party."

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She said it's homecoming weekend at the University of West Virginia, in Morgantown. "We'll have a great homecoming with our city, [which] has been so supportive."

Jacob had been missing since Sunday, when he wandered off during a hike with his parents. He was wearing a T-shirt, a light wind jacket and wind pants, which offered little protection from temperatures that dropped into the high 30s.

Hundreds of searchers along with helicopters and dogs combed 10 square miles of rugged terrain.

"It was pretty thick and just really woodsy, and lots of rhododendrons and just pretty hard to be able to find someone in that stuff," said Jacob's 14-year-old brother Micah.

Jacob's sister, Brittany, and other family members were searching for him when they got word that he had been found.

"We all just embraced and thanked God and we ran back to the station as fast as we could," she said.

"When they brought the ambulance down, I ran to him and told him I loved him. He gave me a smile. He seemed upset and angry, he had an angry look on is face, but as soon as we got him to the hospital and cleaned him up he started smiling and responding," she said. "It was really great, he's doing amazing."

Brittany said hiking in the woods is one of Jacob's favorite things.


"He loves the outdoors, he loves the trees and he's been hiking since he was very young, his whole life, and we go camping a lot," she said. "He just loves being out there in nature."

"I'm sure we'll still take him out there. We will obviously be a lot more paranoid," she said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Allan Chernoff contributed to this report.

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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