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13-year-old Boy Scout found safe in Wyoming wilderness

Photo credit: @AndrewAdamsKSL on Twitter

PINEDALE, Wyoming — The Sublette County Sheriff’s office says a missing Boy Scout, 13-year-old Garrett Hunter, was in good health when he was found late Sunday night by a volunteer group. They located him after crews had suspended looking for the night.

Hunter, who has a form of autism, was last seen Saturday morning in the Wind River range area about 30 minutes from Pinedale, Wyoming. Sergeant Travis Bingham says Hunter was hiking with his scout troop as part of a 50-mile hike when he got separated.

“We haven’t really got confirmation of how they lost sight of him. It was a big group, and as they traveled out, they just noticed he wasn’t with them anymore.”

Bingham says the terrain there is challenging and remote

“It’s pretty thick country. There’s a lot of trails, a lot of lakes, a lot of area to cover–it’s a huge, open wilderness.”

The volunteers who found him stayed overnight and planned to hike out with him Monday morning.

Hunter can remember being separated from the rest of his group.  He recalls stepping aside to relieve himself, and when he went back to his group, they were gone.  He admits he started to panic.

“Am I going to get out of here?  Am I going to see my family again?” Hunter thought.

He says he knew there would be people searching for him, and it was just a matter of time before he would be found.  Still, he didn’t know how long that would take.  He decided to ration his food and began to eat bugs and tree bark.

He can vividly remember being found by members of his LDS Church ward.

“It was really great, like ‘Hallelujah!  I’m home free,” Hunter says.

Some of the searchers found Hunter after following a clue he left behind.  Hunter says he left a tent on the trail south of where he had previously camped.  As it turns out, many searchers were looking in the opposite direction.

“They also said the search and rescue party was up north of where I was… way up there,” Hunter says.

There were lots of hugs and smiles when Hunter was reunited with his family.  His mother, Karen, says she was thrilled to see an overwhelming amount of support from her community and people who didn’t even know their family.

“We were kind of shell-shocked.  We just had a huge [amount] of volunteers come in.  We had people, I still don’t know who they are, that actually flew a lot of volunteers in,” she says, adding, “It was nice to see everything was being done that could be done.”

Photo credit: @AndrewAdamsKSL on Twitter

Photo credit: @AndrewAdamsKSL on Twitter