A 3-year-old boy who disappeared from his front yard has been found alive, hungry, thirsty, and cold, but in good health after surviving alone in the Montana wilderness for two days.
Three-year-old Montana boy disappears from front yard
Last Friday, three-year-old Ryker Webb had last been seen “playing with the family dog in the yard outside the home” on the east side of Bull Lake near the 18 mile-marker on Highway 56, according to a post on the Facebook page of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s office.
The home is just south of Troy, Montana. Sheriffs received the call from a neighbor who was concerned that the boy could be missing, The Inertia reported. Deputies determined that, at the time of the call, Ryker had already been missing for two hours.
The search begins
Sheriffs immediately dispatched crews to begin a ground search of the area. A massive hunt was undertaken involving boots on the ground, all-terrain vehicles, drones, and dog teams. A boat was also deployed with a crew to search a nearby lake. As the hunt intensified, two planes were also dispatched to search the area, but were forced to call off their efforts due to inclement weather. That night, severe thunderstorms rolled through the area.” Sheriff Short said.
The search intensifies
The day after Ryker first vanished, authorities dispatched two Montana Air National Guard helicopters and drones from Flathead County. Searchers from the Spokane Police also responded. As ground crews and ATV teams continued to calm the woods, additional K-9 units were brought in. Unfortunately, bad weather persisted, hindering search efforts. Authorities worried that the inclement weather posed a serious threat to the child’s welfare. That night, a quarter-inch of rain fell, and temperatures dropped into the low 40s in Missoula. The threat of wild animals was also on rescuers’ minds, as the area is known to be inhabited by bears and mountain lions.
Found: 3-year-old survives in Montana wilderness for 2 days
On Sunday, a family was checking on their cabin when they heard a little boy’s voice coming from a shed out back where they keep a generator, explained Lincoln County Sheriff Darren Short, Today reported.
“So they went to the shed and there he was,” Short exclaimed. He added that Ryker was found in “good spirits and apparently healthy, although hungry, thirsty and cold.”
The sheriff asked the little redheaded boy several points, with Ryker explaining he went for a long walk by himself and then got tired.
Photos circulating of the boy being treated by EMS personnel captured the child’s wide-eyed fear.
“Little Ryker is very interested in bugs and insects,” Short explained. “As ground searchers walked up the trail behind his house, they could tell that some rocks had been freshly turned over like a kid would do if they were looking for bugs.”
“We’re still looking into why he [Ryker] disappeared, and why he wasn’t being watched closely,” Sheriff Short said.