Developmentally disabled camper missing for 2 days found safe more than 70 miles away

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. – A developmentally disabled camper who had been missing for two days was found safe Tuesday evening.

Police say Travis Dickson, who goes by Cody, was camping with family members near Buck Gulch Trail in Pine. He walked off from the campsite around 6:15 p.m. and never returned.

“As soon as I heard it, it was just a knot at the bottom of my stomach and I just could not stop thinking about him,” his sister Anna said. “I thought what if, what if he couldn’t find somewhere to stay. That’s all I was worrying about.”

Anna says Cody has a form of “moderate retardation," but she prefers to call his disability a form of autism instead. She says he only has the mental capacity of a 13-year-old and can’t read or write.

“He can hold a conversation. It just that he gets sidetracked very easily,” she said.

A team of more than 40 volunteers combed the woods around the campsite on Monday and Tuesday. Colorado Bureau of Investigations also activated a statewide alert to help spread the word about his disappearance.

According to Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, a woman called police Tuesday afternoon saying she had given Cody a ride Monday night to a homeless shelter in Colorado Springs. At the time, she didn’t realize he was missing.

He was found safe at the homeless shelter on Tuesday evening.

Colorado Springs is more than 70 miles away from the spot where Cody was camping with his family. It takes nearly two hours to drive between the two spots.

Police believe he may have crossed a river and walked several miles before being picked up. It is possible he got rides from more than one person.

“It’s not expected but I do believe that he is smart enough to think of something like that,” Anna said.

She says he has been living in and out of homeless shelters for most of his life and that he goes there when he doesn’t know where else to go.

Anna says she is not surprised her brother had such an adventure in Colorado. She says she is just thankful she’ll get to hear all about it from him.

Investigators are still trying to figure out exactly how Cody made it all the way to Colorado Springs.

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