Teen Found Alive More Than a Week Into Search

Julian McCormick, 18, a first-year student at Bowie State University, was found dehydrated late yesterday on a roadside in Prince George's County.
Julian McCormick, 18, a first-year student at Bowie State University, was found dehydrated late yesterday on a roadside in Prince George's County. (Courtesy Of Wrc-tv4)
By Philip Rucker and Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, September 9, 2007

A college student missing for more than a week was found dehydrated late yesterday on a roadside in Prince George's County, and he said he had finally managed to extricate himself from his car, which had plunged into a nearby ravine.

Julian McCormick, 18, a first-year student at Bowie State University, had been the object of an intensive search since he failed to keep an appointment with his girlfriend Sept. 1.

He was found scraped, bruised, dehydrated and possibly malnourished about 6 p.m. yesterday at Powder Mill and Soil Conservation roads near Beltsville, authorities and his family said.

"A burden has been lifted from my shoulders," his father, James McCormick, said last night. "Every night we went to bed wondering where our child was, whether he was hurting or suffering."

No account was immediately available of how the teenager survived in his car for days, apparently with little or no food or water, or why he had not been found until last night.

The U.S. Park Police, which has jurisdiction over the area where McCormick was discovered, said the Honda Civic he was driving was overturned in a creek bed that runs under Powder Mill Road. The creek is at the bottom of a steep embankment. The thickly wooded site, although not far from the busy Baltimore-Washington Parkway, is not visible from the roadway and appears devoid of houses and buildings.

"Somehow he was able to get out of that car after sitting down there for a whole week," apparently by pushing open the driver's side door, the teen's father said. "We've been praying, and our prayers have been answered."

It was also unclear whether or how thoroughly searchers combed the area where McCormick's vehicle was found.

"For whatever reason, he could not free himself from the vehicle until [last night]," county fire and rescue spokesman Mark Brady said.

"I'm not sure what his level of consciousness was," Brady said of the 6-foot, approximately 175-pound student. He was taken to Washington Hospital Center

In a brief appearance at the hospital, his mother, Peggy McCormick, said she had been "so scared."

She said her son had told her "I love you, mom." But she said little about what had happened. Relatives, she said, "just want at this time to concentrate on his recovery."


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