UPDATE 5:10 p.m.:
The body of a five-year-old Ketchikan boy missing since Wednesday has been found. That’s according to state troopers.
“At approximately 1445 hours, ground searchers located Jaxson [Brown] deceased and recovered his remains. Next of kin has been notified,” the statement said.
Some 20 volunteers assisted in the search for Brown alongside law enforcement and the Coast Guard. Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad head Jerry Kiffer thanked the Ketchikan community for their help in the effort.
“We can’t express enough gratitude for the way the public has supported our operations both in and the offering of personnel, food, warm drinks […] delivered both to the operations center and to the scene,” Kiffer said in a Saturday afternoon phone interview as the search drew to a close.
He expects his volunteers to be out of the wilderness by Saturday evening, he said.
The original story posted Saturday morning is below.
A search is underway for a five-year-old boy near Ketchikan who’s been missing since Wednesday.
“Jaxson [Brown] is a white male, approximately 4’ 2” and 70 pounds. He has blond hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a black jacket and camo pants,” said a Friday afternoon dispatch from Alaska State Troopers.
Search and rescue volunteers are searching the Lunch Creek Trail area near Settlers’ Cove. Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad head Jerry Kiffer told KRBD that a hiker found the boy’s mother on the trail with serious injuries on Friday.
The mother didn’t have the boy with her when she was found about three miles up the trail, Kiffer said.
She reportedly indicated that the pair had started their hike about three hours before dark on Wednesday.
“She indicated that they had gotten up into deep snow about knee-deep snow, turned around, came back,” Kiffer said.
State troopers say the pair were disoriented and lost the trail. They spent Wednesday night together before the mother sought help Thursday morning, according to a Saturday morning dispatch.
The mother reportedly placed the boy in a dry spot underneath a tree before leaving, Kiffer said.
“Her intention was to go down and get help. He was too big for her to carry,” he said.
On her way down the trail, the mother broke her ankle, he said. Troopers say she was found the following day, Friday.
Search and rescue personnel brought the mother back to the trailhead, where she was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, according to Kiffer.
Crews began searching the trail and the nearby area Friday, according to Kiffer. They suspended the ground search effort late that night as darkness fell.
That allowed a Coast Guard helicopter with a thermal imaging camera to search for the boy after dark on Friday. The helicopter departed in the early morning hours Saturday, Kiffer said.
The ground search effort resumed Saturday morning, Kiffer said. Approximately 20 trained search-and-rescue volunteers are looking for the boy.
As of 10 a.m. Saturday, authorities aren’t yet asking for the public’s help in the search in this early phase of the effort.
“The more people that we have out there, the more signs that they are going to leave in the woods that we can’t account for,” rescue squad chief Kiffer said. “So tracking becomes more difficult. Sometimes more help is not is not better.”
Anyone with information about the boy’s whereabouts is asked to call the local state trooper post at 225-5118.
This story has been updated.