Missing boy faces snow, wind – October 17, 2006

Missing boy faces snow, wind

Mail Tribune
Medford, Oregon
October 17, 2006

Search presses on for 8-year-old from Portland lost at Crater Lake Saturday

More than 170 searchers from teams across the region braved wintry conditions Monday to continue looking for an 8-year-old boy who got separated from his father Saturday at Crater Lake National Park.

Snow that started falling Sunday afternoon had piled up to between 6 inches and a foot and a half throughout the park by Monday afternoon, said Michael Justin, a National Park Service concession management specialist serving as spokesman.
Falling snow and winds up to 35 mph grounded search helicopters and made searches from horseback unsafe as the severe weather closed the park’s north entrance and Rim Drive to the public, he said.

Search-and-rescue teams from Jackson, Klamath and Deschutes counties and local U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management employees joined National Park Service search experts from California, Washington and Oregon, including specialty rescue teams from Mount Hood and Mount Rainier. In all, 174 searchers were at the park by Monday evening, Justin said.

They combed an area stretching about a mile from where Samuel “Sammie” Boehlke slipped away from his father, Ken Boehlke, at about 4 p.m. Saturday.

The Boehlkes, who live in the Portland area, were staying at Diamond Lake and had come to Crater Lake for the day. They had stopped at a pullout about 500 yards east of the Cleetwood Cove parking lot and were walking on the north side of Rim Drive, away from the lake, when Sammie ran into the woods, Justin said.

Ken Boehlke searched the pumice slopes and forested area for nearly two hours before returning to the roadway to flag down a motorist to call for help, Justin said. Rangers started their search at about 6 p.m. and the Jackson County search team brought dogs to track the boy. The dogs initially found a scent, but didn’t locate the boy, authorities said.

Sammie is 4 feet, 11 inches tall, weighs about 85 pounds and has brown eyes and short brown hair. He was last seen wearing a long-sleeved, black-and-green- striped T-shirt, tan cargo pants, a blue winter coat and red, suede slip-on shoes with rubber soles. Searchers said Sammie is autistic and fearful.

Overnight lows were predicted to dip to around 24 degrees, but the weather forecast calls for a decreasing chance of precipitation today and less wind.

“We hope to see clearing for the helicopters to work,” Justin said.

Anyone who saw Sammie Saturday or since then is asked to call the park’s dispatch center at 541-594-3060.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com

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