Air Force helicopters help search for missing 5-year-old boy

AP News
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Posted: Aug 07, 2015 7:44 PM

JACOB LAKE, Ariz. (AP) — Air Force helicopters and ground crews with dogs searched unsuccessfully Friday for a 5-year-old Arizona boy who wandered off from a remote forest campsite the day before while chasing grasshoppers.

"We have not seen any sign of the child," said Gerry Blair, a spokesman for the Coconino County Sheriff's Office.

Blair said crews planned to search on foot and aboard ATVs Friday night while Air Force helicopters equipped with night vision would continue scouring the rugged terrain in a remote area north of the Grand Canyon.

The search began late Thursday after relatives of Jerald Joseph Williams of Colorado City reported he'd been missing for about four hours and friends and family couldn't find him.

The boy was with a group of about 20 people at the campsite approximately 12 miles south of Jacob Lake in the Kaibab National Forest, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Searchers included U.S. Forest Service fire crews, sheriff's deputies, search-and-rescue ground teams, state police and game officers and two helicopters from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

The missing boy was described as white, 3-foot-6 and 35 pounds, with brown eyes and very short brown hair. He was wearing hiking boots, blue jeans and a tan or gray shirt.

With nightfall approaching by the time authorities were notified, initial search efforts focused on driving roads in the area and setting up a perimeter, Blair said.

"We didn't get this thing until 5:30 p.m (Thursday)," Blair said. "We did as much as we could with both operations on the ground and in the air, but we were short on daylight."

Blair said it's not unusual for families to not immediately contact law enforcement if a child is lost. "We don't get an immediate call because they think they can find him," he said.