Jacob Allen

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An autistic 18-year-old lost in the wilderness for four days was found alive Thursday, weak but apparently fine, and reunited with his family, searchers said.

"To the best of our knowledge, he was just hungry and thirsty and fatigued," Jim Reneau, one of the nine searchers who found Jacob Allen, said at a news conference at the command post near Davis, about 90 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Allen, who wandered away from his parents while hiking Sunday, was found lying in a clearing about a mile from where his hat was found Monday.

Allen, who has the mental capacity of a 3- or 4-year-old, opened his eyes and rolled over to meet his rescuers when Reneau's son, Jeremy Reneau, called out his name.

"He was very quiet, he was nonverbal," said Jeremy Reneau, 25, the first to spot Allen. "But you could tell by his body language he was hungry."

Rescuers fed him candy bars and peanut butter sandwiches and tried to walk him out of the wooded Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, part of the Monongahela National Forest. When he became too tired, they carried him out on a litter, Reneau said.

"The family is all together," search group spokesman Chris Stadelman said. "As soon as they heard the report he was alive and doing fairly well, they gathered in a prayer circle."

The Inter-Mountain newspaper reported that Allen was taken to Davis Memorial Hospital, but a spokeswoman for the hospital declined to comment.