Released by: Lieutenant Ty Rupert

Released Date: 03/04/2024

Location: China Hat / Milepost 32

Persons Assisted:

28 year old female, Redmond, OR

22 year old female, Redmond, OR

6 year old male, Redmond, OR

4 year old female, Redmond, OR



On 03/03/2024 at approximately 1615 hours, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a family who got their vehicle (2007 Dodge Ram truck) stuck in 3 feet of snow on China Hat Road, near China Hat Butte (milepost 32) southeast of Bend.

The reporting party, who did not know the stranded motorists had attempted to assist the family though they were unable to get the vehicle un-stuck (no shovels, tow straps, or recovery gear). There were 2-adult females, 2-children (ages 4 and 6) as well as three dogs in the stuck vehicle.

The temperature at the location was approximately 18-degrees, and snowing.  The stranded family had no cell service, no food or water with them. The location of the stranded motorist was not exactly known by the reporting party.

A Special Services Deputy attempted to call and send the stranded family text messages (please remain with your vehicle, stay warm, we are on the way), though these contact attempts were unsuccessful.  A cell phone location ping was conducted though it did not provide assistance in this case.

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue was activated.  Two SAR teams, consisting of 3-SAR volunteers, and 1-Deptuy responded to the China Hat location with a Tracked Rescue Vehicle (TRV photo attached) and a tracked Polaris Ranger.

The SAR team deployed in the tracked vehicles on China Hat Rd. near milepost 24. At approximately 1907 hours, the SAR volunteers reported that they had located the stranded family which included 2-adults, 2-children, and 3-dogs inside their stuck vehicle. The family was cold, but reported to be healthy, and uninjured.  The family and pets were provided with food and water and then loaded into the heated Tracked Rescue Vehicle (TRV) where they were transported to an awaiting transport vehicle near milepost 24 on China Hat Rd. The family, and pets were then provided with a courtesy transport to their residence in Redmond.

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 five K9 teams. Founded in 1916 and today led by your duly elected Sheriff L. Shane Nelson, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office serves over 200,000 residents in Deschutes County. The agency has 259 authorized and funded personnel, which includes 191 sworn employees who provide services to the 3,055 square miles of Deschutes County.