The Latest: Washington family grateful after being found

AP News
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Posted: Nov 17, 2016 3:53 PM

MONTESANO, Wash. (AP) — The Latest on the search for a missing family in Washington state (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

A Washington state man located with his wife and his two youngest children after being missing for two days says he's grateful for the effort put in by searchers after the family's van became stuck on a remote logging road southwest of Seattle.

Jason McAlister told reporters Thursday the family tried to walk out to get help after the van got stuck on Tuesday afternoon, but darkness fell and as temperatures fell into the 30s, they spent the night on the side of the road in a shelter he built with fir boughs leaned against a rock face. Early Wednesday they walked back to the van, warmed up with the heater, listened to the radio and watched DVDs.

He said they headed out again Thursday, and that's when they were spotted by hunters who drove them to get help.

Authorities earlier said the family had spent both nights in their van.

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11:10 a.m.

Authorities in Washington state are crediting a hunter with finding four members of a family missing since Tuesday.

The Grays Harbor Sheriff's Office said that thanks to heavy media coverage, the hunter immediately recognized Jason and Melissa McAlister and their two youngest children when he saw them walking along a remote logging road in Mason County, southwest of Seattle.

Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate says Jason and Melissa McAlister brought their 8-month-old and 2-year-old out for a drive while the couple's two older children were at school Tuesday. They tried to drive around a downed tree on a logging road but got stuck.

They had plenty of fuel in their van and some water, and they spent both nights in the vehicle. Shumate says they tried to walk out to get help Wednesday, but got turned around. They're in good condition.

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9:45 a.m.

Four members of a Washington state family missing since Tuesday have been found walking near a store in Mason County, about 55 miles southwest of Seattle.

The sheriff's office in neighboring Grays Harbor County, where the family lives, said Thursday morning that it didn't immediately have details of the family's condition, beyond that they're alive. Deputies were on their way to the meet them.

Steve Shumate, chief criminal deputy with the sheriff's office says Jason and Melissa McAlister and two of their children, ages 8 months and 2 years, appear to have left home to take a drive Tuesday while their older two children were at school. They didn't return as expected Tuesday afternoon to meet the older children at the bus stop.

They were found near a general store in Matlock, Washington.

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3:42 a.m.

Authorities in Washington state are searching remote logging roads for a missing couple and two of their four children.

Jason and Melissa McAlister and two of their children, ages 8 months and 2 years, appear to have left home Tuesday while their older two children were at school, said Steve Shumate, chief criminal deputy with the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office.

The family's home is in a rural area southwest of Seattle, about 20 miles north of the town of Montesano. They were reported missing Tuesday evening after no one showed up to meet the school bus bringing the older children, ages 5 and 7, home, Shumate said.

The family's landlord, who also lives at the property, told authorities he had spoken with Jason McAlister, 33, before leaving the house at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Shumate said. McAlister reportedly told him the family planned to do some chores, then maybe go out for a drive and come back by 3 p.m.