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Mom hopes to use dogs to find son

 

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The Oregonian
Medford, Oregon
October 25, 2006
By MATTHEW PREUSCH


Crater Lake - Kirsten Becker has set up a U.S. Bank account to fund efforts to "bring Sam home"


The mother of a Portland boy, who was lost earlier this month in Crater Lake National Park, is seeking money to defray the costs of professional volunteer dog teams that she believes are the best chance at finding her son.


"I need to bring Sam home, and this is how the park service and I believe we have our best chance to find him," said Kirsten Becker, mother of Samuel Boehlke, 8.


Sam, who has a form of high functioning autism, vanished into the woods north of the park's caldera rim Oct. 14 while visiting Crater Lake with his father, Ken Boehlke.


Though a weeklong, wide-ranging search followed, Kirsten Becker said she believes her son's body is only a short distance from the point at which he vanished and that he had been hiding.

 

"He likes to run, and our speculation is that he'd only run a short distance and then hunker down," she said Tuesday.


She set up an account at U.S. Bank on Tuesday where the public can donate money to help pay for a private search contractor as well as stipends for professionals who want to volunteer their time. Any excess funds, she said, would go to children with special needs.


The National Park Service, meanwhile, will soon announce its plans for what they're calling a "limited continued search," park spokesman Mac Brock said Tuesday.


In the next few days, a helicopter and search dogs will scan the search area. If they are unsuccessful, searchers may use more dog teams that can operate in the snow.


"We could start getting snow anytime, and once we do, it obviously becomes harder and harder to access that area," Brock said.


These plans follows a massive search involving hundreds of personnel that found no trace of Sam, save a few scents that led nowhere.


Park officials this week underscored that their investigation into the circumstances of Sam's disappearance has turned up no evidence of foul play or criminality. Brock said, however, that park personnel are open to all possibilities "if clues do point them in that direction."


Interested individuals can make donations to the Samuel Boehlke-Becker account at any U.S. Bank branch or by contacting the John's Landing branch at 503-275-6695.

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