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The mother of the 18-year-old Bowie State University student who went missing for eight days in September after crashing his car down a ravine in Beltsville says her son is still recovering in a Washington hospital.

Although Julian McCormick’s injuries at first seemed minor, Peggy McCormick says her son has “extensive tissue damage” caused by hanging from his seatbelt inside his wrecked Honda Civic. “It saved his life, but it done a lot of damage to him also,” she says.

Julian McCormick disappeared Sept. 1 and was found Sept. 8 on the side of the road by a motorist after freeing himself from the wreck. McCormick’s mother says she believes he spent the entire eight days at the bottom of the ravine where he told her he caught fish in a creek with his shoe. She says he was unconscious through much of the ordeal, which took place less than a mile from his family’s home.

Peggy McCormick says her son has undergone several surgeries, and she is unsure when he will be released.