A search is underway near Ketchikan for a five-year-old boy 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 at the north end of town. Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad head Jerry Kiffer said 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 said the pair 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.
Kiffer said the mother reportedly placed the boy in a spot underneath a tree before leaving.
“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, Kiffer said. Troopers said she was found the following day, Friday.
Kiffer said search and rescue personnel brought the mother back to the trailhead, where she was rushed to the hospital for surgery.
Crews began searching the trail and nearby area Friday afternoon, 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. The helicopter departed in the early morning hours Saturday, Kiffer said.
Kiffer said the ground search effort resumed Saturday morning. Approximately 20 trained search-and-rescue volunteers are looking for the boy.
As of 10 a.m. Saturday, Kiffer said authorities aren’t yet asking for the public’s help, since it’s still in an early phase of the search 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,” 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.