By: Lt. Bryan Husband, Search and Rescue Coordinator
On 07/01/19, at about 8:09pm, 9-1-1 Dispatch received a call from an employee with Northwest Outward Bound School, reporting a 16 year old male enrolled in their program, was missing. The juvenile had been camping with several other juveniles and Northwest Outward Bound School employees at Yapoah Lake and had last been seen at about 1200pm. It was unknown whether the juvenile had intentionally run away from the camp or had become lost. The juvenile had reportedly left the camp with food, water and minimal clothing.
One Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Deputy and two DCSO Search and Rescue Volunteers immediately began working on search plans, while three additional DCSO Deputies responded to the closest trail heads, Scott’s Pass and Milican Crater, both off of Forest Service Rd 1018. The juvenile was not located at either of the trail heads or surrounding forest service roads. Northwest Outward Bound School employees, who had been searching for the missing juvenile for several hours, later reported they had located a note left by the juvenile in the dirt at a nearby trail junction. The employees followed what they believed to be the juvenile’s shoe impressions to the Scott’s Pass/Pacific Crest Trail junction, where they lost them in the snow. DCSO Patrol Deputies continued to be on the lookout in the area for the juvenile throughout the night.
On 07/02/19, at about 6:30am, two DCSO SAR Horse Team Volunteers, deployed to search the Pacific Crest Trail, from Lava Camp Lake south to the Scott’s Pass Trail junction. The Oregon State Police was contacted and assisted with an aerial search from their fixed wing airplane. One DCSO Airops SAR Volunteer joined the OSP pilot to assist as a spotter. Additionally, 24 DCSO SAR Ground Searchers responded to assist with various trail searches. The Lane County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit was contacted, who assisted by sending searchers to the nearby PCT area in their county. The Air Force Civilian Air Patrol was notified and prepared to assist with a further aerial search if necessary.
At approximately 9:30am, the OSP airplane crew reported they had observed a subject matching the juvenile’s description on the Milican Crater Trail, actively waving and signaling to them. The subject’s location, which was approximately 2.9 miles (via trail) away from Yapoah Lake, was relayed to the DCSO SAR Horse Team. The Horse Team arrived at the subject’s location at about 10:33am. Besides being tired and hungry, the juvenile was in good condition and did not require medical treatment. The DCSO SAR Horse Team provided the juvenile a ride to the Milican Crater Trail head, where he was later turned over to Northwest Outward Bound School employees.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is a full service agency that oversees the adult jail, provides patrol, criminal investigations, civil process and search and rescue operations. Special units include SWAT, Marine Patrol, ATV Patrol, Forest Patrol, along with four K9 teams. Founded in 1916 and today lead by your duly elected Sheriff L. Shane Nelson, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office serves the nearly 190,000 residents in Deschutes County. The agency has 230 authorized and funded personnel, which includes 187 sworn employees who provide services to the 3,055 square miles of Deschutes County.