Derrick James Engebretson

Friday, March 03, 2006

Footprints Found In Hunt For Oregon Boy

Footprints Found In Hunt For Oregon Boy
Posted: 10/3/03 2:39 pm

Local News: Friday, December 11, 1998

Footprints Found In Hunt For Oregon Boy

The AP

ROCKY POINT, Ore. - Buoyed by the discovery of tiny footprints in the snow and an infrared hot spot located by a helicopter, searchers went back to the woods today to look for an 8-year-old boy lost on a Christmas-tree hunt.

Today marked the seventh day of the search in southern Oregon's Winema National Forest for Derrick Engebretson, and the long days were starting to take their toll.

Family members have been camped out near the spot where the boy was last seen, and his father, Robert Engebretson, has searched through the snow day and night.

"We're afraid he has pneumonia," Russell Davis, the lost boy's great uncle, said of the father. "He's pretty bad."

Lonnie Davis, one of Derrick's uncles and an experienced hunter, found small footprints in the snow yesterday near a hotspot identified by one of the three helicopters that have been flying at treetop level with infrared sensing gear.

Professional trackers were brought in by the Klamath County sheriff to check out the hotspot about a mile and a half north of where Derrick was last seen.

Meanwhile, volunteers working with the family in its own search went to another spot on Pelican Butte identified by an amateur psychic.

Russell Davis said he has been frustrated that the sheriff's department has turned away experienced searchers, including some from the U.S. Forest Service and the military. "They're finally agreeing they need more help," Davis said. "They should have took

what was offered. I'm very upset over it.

"They don't have any time left," Davis added. "The little boy - they've got to get him out of here today."

Many of the searchers, first-time volunteers and veteran deputies alike, felt the stress of repeated disappointments.

"I've got some of my men who have stood in there crying," said sheriff's Capt. Roger Pitts, gesturing toward a search-and-rescue van.

The Bonanza third-grader became lost in a heavy and sudden snowstorm Saturday while looking for Christmas trees with his father and grandfather.

No one knows how long he could survive in the subfreezing temperatures.

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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