Missing boys lost in Wilderness Ranch area were found and are ‘OK’
The two young boys who went missing around 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon were found alive and well Monday evening, according to family members and law enforcement.
“They found our boys and they’re OK,” said the boys’ grandmother Judy Hamel.
The boys — ages 9 and 13 — are cousins from Wyoming and went missing at a cabin in Wilderness Ranch in Moffat County while visiting their grandparents for Labor Day weekend.
“They were going to go looking for frogs yesterday, so they must have made a wrong turn,” said grandmother Judy Hamel. “After they didn’t come back after a long time, we started looking and called for help.”
Hamel said that on Sunday evening Moffat County Sheriff’s Office and Moffat County Search and Rescue started combing the area for the children, along with her two daughters who are the mothers of the boys.
“They launched a full-blown search,” she said.
Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume said the boys were found at around 4:50 p.m. Monday roughly three miles southeast from where they went missing.
At around 4:15 on Monday, Hume sent a fourth aerial search out — operated by pilots Blain and Adam Tucker from Mountain Air Spray in Craig — and that’s when the boys were found.
“The boys were spotted by air by the Tuckers,” Hume said, noting that he believes the children are in good condition even though he hasn’t seen them in person. Hume’s crew “believed they looked good,” he said.
Adam Tucker, who has two boys of his own, found it very rewarding to spot the children, Hume said.
The initial search team included five members of Moffat County Search and Rescue on foot and horseback and a Moffat County Sheriff’s Deputy.
A Classic Air Medical helicopter also assisted the search crew and conducted a two-hour “grid search” of the area, according to a news release. The first operational period concluded at approximately 12 a.m.
Search operations continued at 7 a.m. Monday with a ground team and a second aerial operation executed by a Colorado DFPC Multi Mission Aircraft, utilizing infrared sensor technology, the release stated.
The sensor technology helps determine where warm bodies are, and it’s usually only effective in the evening and early morning before the earth heats up with daylight temperatures, Hume said.
A third aerial operation by Classic Air Medical also was used at around noon on Wednesday.
The boys were found after the Tuckers went out on the fourth and final aerial search.
One of the boys is from Lander, Wyoming and other is from Pinedale, Wyoming, Hamel said.
Hamel and her husband own a cabin in Wilderness Ranch, but they live full time in Saratoga, Wyoming. The boys and their families were vacationing there for Labor Day weekend.
Roughly 20 people from Moffat County Search and Rescue and the Sheriff’s Office searched the area by foot and horseback, Hume said.
“The terrain in that area makes radio communication problematic,” Hume said, highlighting that thick, dark woods and beetle kill pine made it difficult to conduct the search. “It’s pretty rugged.”
Hume was operating on a “skeleton” crew due to the holiday weekend, but he had enough resources to find the boys.
“I could not have asked for a better result,” Hume said.
Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.
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