Troopers searching for grandmother after 2-year-old found locked in car near Healy

a portrait of a woman with gray hair pulled back, slightly smiling
Mary Dawn Wilson (Alaska State Troopers)

Alaska State Troopers are searching for the grandmother of a 2-year-old boy who was found alone and abandoned in a locked car Thursday just outside of Healy.

Mary Dawn Wilson, 69, is the last person known to be with the child

Troopers say they got a report around 1:30 a.m. Thursday about the abandoned car with a child inside. They say the Ford Focus was stuck in the mud about 6.8 miles out on Stampede Road, off the Parks Highway.

The child appeared to be in good health and was handed over to the state Office of Children’s Services, troopers said.

Officials said evidence in the car indicated that the child and car were abandoned Tuesday when the vehicle became stuck. There were indications Wilson tried to free the car, said troopers spokesperson Tim DeSpain.

Troopers said it’s believed she started walking, but in the opposite direction from the highway. Personal items believed to belong to her were found around mile 7.9 of Stampede Road.

Various law enforcement agencies, search dogs and the Alaska Wilderness Search and Rescue organization are looking for Wilson near where the car stopped. Troopers say volunteers that would like to participate in the search should check-in at the Stampede Road staging area in Healy, about 10 miles north of Denali National Park and Preserve.

Troopers are also asking anyone who knows anything about her whereabouts to contact them at (907) 451-5100 or you can submit a tip anonymously online.

Stampede Road heads west off the Parks Highway at mile 251. The first four miles are paved, the second four are dirt and gravel, after which it deteriorates into a trail.

The road is famous for being the main thoroughfare that people have used to retrace the steps of Christopher McCandless, whose journey on the Stampede Trail ended with his death.

Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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