William Callaghan is reunited with his mum at the search staging area. Picture: AAP Image/James Ross

By Jackson Russell

After spending close to 48 hours lost in the Mount Disappointment State Forest, William Callaghan remains in hospital after a good night’s sleep and a big McDonald’s dinner.

William is still in hospital as doctors attempt to remove an insect from his ear and potentially fit a cast to a suspected broken foot.

But his mother Penny Callaghan said he enjoyed four large chips and some chicken nuggets on the way to being taken to hospital yesterday afternoon.

William, known as Will, was found alive at about lunchtime today after walking ahead of his family at Mt Disappointment on Monday.

Will has autism and is non-verbal. He did not have food or water with him, and was not dressed for the elements where temperatures dropped to about zero degrees.

Ms Callaghan provided an update on Will’s condition outside the Royal Children’s Hospital this morning.

She said because of Will’s autism, any little medical procedure became a ‘big event’ but the hospital staff were helping William cope.

“This is an issue that needs to be brought to light. There are difficulties with that because he’s not going to be compliant,” she said.

“He doesn’t understand what’s going on, why people are trying to touch him and poke him and prod him.

“This was a massive ordeal for him but to him, it was probably juts an adventure as well. He’s just happy I’m there and he slept pretty well last night, a lot better than I did.”

Will does not like being touched but Ms Callaghan said she was able to steal a kiss or two.

“I want to give him a million hugs but he won’t like that. I managed to steal a kiss or two but he likes deep pressure so he’s had a lot of body squeezes and things like that,” she said.

Ms Callaghan thanked everyone who helped find Will, including Ben Gibbs who found him, but also provided support for her and the family.

“Yes it was a team effort, so many people were involved and all that support made all the difference for me, it was how I managed to cope,” she said.

Acting Inspector Christine Lalor speaks to media today.

Acting Inspector Christine Lalor said it was important to the community to find Will, especially after a tough three months.

“It’s given everyone a little boost. It’s been a tough three months going from bushfires to COVID,” she said.

“Obviously as time goes on, we know the risk increases but Penny, myself and the team were all quite optimistic that we would find him.

“For some reason, whether it was wishful thinking, that morning I just had a feeling that we were going to find him that day, so I think it’s important to not lose hope and to stay optimistic.

“I really want to pass on a huge thanks not only to all the volunteers and the people that help but the wider community. We got so much feedback and so many people offering assistance, it was a great effort.”