9-Year-Old Tennessee Boy Survives 3 Days in Freezing Temperatures by Building Shelter With Tarp

Jordan Gorman, 9, had taken shelter under a tarp he found.
Jordan Gorman, 9, had taken shelter under a tarp he found. (Tennessee Bureau of Investigations)

A 9-year-old Tennessee boy was found “cold and hungry” but safe after having disappeared for three days, authorities said. Young Jordan Gorman hadn’t been wearing shoes or a jacket, but he kept himself alive in freezing temperatures by fashioning shelter out of a tarp he had found.

“Very rare that you have a missing child with this outcome,” spokesperson Josh Devine of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations said in a statement.

Jordan had vanished Sunday from his home in Cheatham County, where he lives with his two siblings and his adopted parents, the Gormans. He had reportedly left the home after an argument, although authorities did not disclose what the argument was about, People reported.

He had only been wearing a t-shirt, and temperatures in the area dipped into the 30s and 40s while he was missing. Jordan’s biological father Aaron Hatt told reporters that Jordan is autistic, and was nonverbal for the first several years of his life.

After neighbors were asked to search their yards and crawl spaces for Jordan, authorities found him about a three-quarter mile from the home Tuesday afternoon. He was found under a blue tarp, with which he made a shelter near a creek bed. It wasn’t clear how long he had been under the tarp.

Rescuers said he didn’t seem to know people were looking for him, and didn’t say much to authorities initially, then began warming up to them. “He was just chilling in the woods,” a rescuer said, according to the Tennessean.

"He’s always just been really resilient and an explorer type but to be standing for two days with no jacket no shoes no socks,” said Hatt, who arrived on the scene with his wife. “I don’t like going to the living room, let alone outside and walking three-quarters of a mile through the woods with no socks and shoes on, through sticks and rocks; I mean it’s just crazy."

His wife Katie added, “We’re just so happy that he’s back.”

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