2-year-old boy wanders off from family campsite, multiagency search ensues

Stock image | Photo courtesy of Coconino County Sheriff's Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A 2-year-old boy made it back safely with his family after wandering away from a northern Arizona campsite last week. Authorities are crediting the success in finding the child to the incident being quickly reported as well as the quick response and availability of emergency responders.

At approximately 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, authorities were dispatched to a report of a 2-year-old boy who had wandered away from his family’s campsite south of Williams, Arizona, near Hyde Hill, according to statement issued by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.

The family, consisting of four adults and five children from the Phoenix area, were setting up their camp when they realized the child was missing, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“They had last seen him approximately 20 minutes prior,” officials said, “and he had been playing with the other children next to the campsite.”

Coconino County Sheriff’s deputies responded to initiate the investigation, establish containment of the search area and coordinated bystanders and family who wanted to assist in the search.

Members of the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, Flagstaff Patrol District, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Williams Fire Department and personnel from the Kaibab National Forest also responded to help with the search.

At around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the child was located by a deputy near a road approximately 0.7 miles northwest of the family’s camp, officials said, noting that the child was in “good condition” and was reunited with family members.

“We credit the success in finding the child to several factors, including that the report was called in timely and that sheriff deputies were able to get to the scene quickly,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “The search also was greatly aided by the availability and response of emergency responders from other agencies.”

A similar incident in Coconino County two years ago did not end with the same successful outcome.

In August 2015, 5-year-old Jerold Williams also went missing in Coconino County after walking away from his family’s campsite. Over the course of several days, hundreds of people from multiple counties and agencies joined in the search for the 5-year-old boy from Colorado City, Arizona.

Williams had been missing for five days and four nights in Kaibab National Forest when his body was found near Jacob Lake, Arizona, approximately 3.7 miles, point to point, from the last place he had been seen. He was found fully clothed and had no obvious external injuries.

Following an autopsy, officials concluded the boy died from environmental exposure. Officials said they believe Williams likely died within the first 24 hours after he went missing.

Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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7 Comments

  • DRT July 4, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    People, if you are too lazy, too busy, too self-centered, or too dumb to keep an eye on your kids, THEN STAY HOME!

    • desertgirl July 5, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Your response is hyper-critical and unrealistic. How perfect you must think you are.

      • DRT July 6, 2017 at 8:49 pm

        So, it is unrealistic to expect parents to actually care for, and look after their kids? If, in your eyes, this is unrealistic, then I pray to God that you do not have any kids.

  • mmsandie July 4, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Why aren,t parents watching their children??? They set up campsite then the party starts and a missing child, either have children and watch them or din,t have children.. I remember the last child was lost and found dead, I was nearby and drive by when I saw the group. Before the kid ran if and chased an animal..

    • desertgirl July 5, 2017 at 9:25 am

      Facts of life; stuff happens. A child can disappear in literally a few moments. Anyone who believes your eyes can be on your children every waking moment is not being realistic. The answer is not to enjoy life despite the fact that life is full of tragedies both preventable and unpreventable. Again, life happens, enjoy it or always be afraid and make your children whimpering suck babies. If you have kids you just happen to be “lucky” that fate hasn’t taken one of yours. Be thankful and stop criticizing parents and caregivers no matter the situation.

      • DRT July 6, 2017 at 8:52 pm

        Facts of life. Apparently you are one of the people who are too lazy, too busy, too self-centered, or too dumb to keep an eye on your kids! As a parent, and a grand parent, I cannot for the life of me, believe the attitude you put forth here. I suppose you are one of those who figure, “well, if this one dies, I’ll just have another one.”

    • redrock4 July 5, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      OK, not an attempt to be mean but did you seriously just write, “. . . I was nearby and drive by when I saw the group. Before the kid ran if and chased an animal..”? Now read that sentence back to yourself. Does that even attempt to make any sense? Apparently it made enough sense to prompt an annoying lecture from desertgirl. I do love and will steal her phrase,”suck babies” though : )

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