Con Crew Slashes Path to Injured Boy Who Spent Night in Woods With Broken Femur


A 14-year-old boy spent the night in the woods and was rescued early this morning by multiple people working together.

Early this morning a Redway resident and KMUD board member, Cody Dillon, heard shouting from near his home on West Coast Road. He says he was first woken by neighbors having a dispute when he thought he heard shouting from the woods about 3:30 a.m.

“I heard someone yelling ‘help me,'” he explained. “Maybe every five minutes he would yell it.” Dillon said that when a Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputy showed up around four to deal with the neighbors’ dispute, he told the officer about the situation but the officer declined to look for the individual yelling.

But the yelling continued after the deputy left.  About 4:30, Dillion said, the yelling started to be more regular.  “I called 911. I tried to get to him but there was too much brush and too much poison oak. A crew from Cal Fire came and they started into the woods and then some Technical Rescue guys came.”

At one point the crew couldn’t hear the yelling anymore. They had lost contact with the individual. Eventually, though they re-established verbal contact, Dillon said. A con camp crew came and “ran chainsaws for about half an hour. It took them an hour and a half to get him out.”

With the newly slashed trail, emergency crews “got him out on a stretcher,” said Dillon. “His right femur was broken.”

Dillon said he was told that the boy was only 14 and had “been out there since yesterday.”

“Great job Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue, Redway Fire, Cal Fire, Paramedics and everyone else who came out and helped to save this 14 year old kid from the woods,” Dillon later wrote on his Facebook page.

We agree and want to add thank you to Dillon for persevering til he got help for the boy.

UPDATE 10:50 a.m.: According to Devon Ellsworth, an engineer with Cal Fire, “Around 6:30 a.m., we received a call about a possible rescue into the woods with a broken leg.” Ellsworth said that Redway Fire and Cal Fire were the initial emergency responders. But soon the two crews decided they needed assistance.”We started searching and decided we needed to call for Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue,” explained Ellsworth.

Making their way through the thick brush and trees, they finally reached “a minor with a leg injury.” The youth told the crews that he had been out there since about 8 p.m.

Realizing they would need a better path to remove the youth, Ellsworth said, “We called for an inmate crew to cut brush to get him out.” The inmates used chainsaws to clear a way through the woods as emergency crews gave medical aid to the boy. After putting him on a backboard, Ellsworth described using specialized equipment to protect the youth. “We packaged the patient in a Stokes basket,” she said.

With the help of the inmate crew,–“They were key,” Ellsworth said–the boy was carried through the woods. “We met up with the ambulance and transferred care to them,” she explained.

Well done, folks.


Hattip to Terri Klemetson of KMUD for being on top of this story early.



  • It was good that he was close enough to civilization that someone could hear him. Thank-you rescue people! Now the kid will have a story to tell his grandkids.

  • Awsome job Cody!you never gave up,you knew what you heard .shame on the sheriff who didn’t even look to see what was wrong!!I think Cody is a Hero,that young man is very lucky you were there,and why was that 14 year old there anyway?

    • The deputy might’ve been thinking that Dillon was trying to lure him out into the woods. He showed up to handle a domestic call, then some neighbor runs up and is like, “I think I heard someone calling for help, you gotta go check it out!”
      I’d be sketched out, too.

      • No, that Deputy should have set the investigation in motion – thanks to good citizenship and compassion on Cody’s part the kid lives! Thanks to all those cons and Sheriffs who arrived and finished the rescue too, but it was Cody saved the kid’s life.

        A Sheriff is supposed to have much better judgment than to be “sketched out” by a hippie claiming to hear cries for help in the middle of the night. At the least he should have contacted someone………..

  • I think it’s perfectly wonderful and normal for a 14-year-old to be out in the woods exploring– he could be “doing” anything or nothing– but it is a bit odd that there wasn’t someone missing him and calling for a search at the same time he was calling for help.

    • I think it’s pretty normal for a 14 year old to evade parental oversight, especially during a holiday.

    • He had been being searched for for many hours by many people. I called police and ER last night. Called police station again this morning.
      Our worry last night was huge!
      Thankfully weather was warm and he was not injured worse.

  • UH-oh, not a good thing when the deputy refused to take the call for help report seriously.

    • I am the 14 year old. Thank you Cody Dillion and the rescue team for saving me and ending my horrible experience.
      Also thank you to his friends who searched for him for hours the previous day and night-mom.

  • wtf why would the cop not at least see if he could
    Even hear anyone screaming for help, that is also a part of his job an oath, truely disappointed in him. Glad the young man is okay an our volunteers are always there to help this community!

  • Thank god we have so many able bodied cons. Kinda surprised we hand them chainsaws though.
    None the less. Bravo!

  • veteransfriend

    I agree with others who find the sheriff deputy lacking in professional response to this situation. Lucky it’s summer and this youngster was not in danger of exposure. The deputy needs to be reprimanded and have a formal complaint entered into his record. It is unacceptable that he did not make any effort to establish what the true situation was.

    • The first officer said they “weren’t gonna get out of the car and go walking through the woods.” The second officer said “it will be light in an hour and a half and he’ll find his way out.”

      Apparently they had been called earlier in the night and dismissed it as a non issue.

      I don’t know if it was the parents who had called in or not. But if they did and they didn’t pass off the case to other agencies, especially since he’s a minor. I could see the whole department getting sued.

      • I believe the officers were under the assumption that the person injured and yelling for help was probably one of the homeless bums that have infested our towns. If that was the case, I don’t blame them for not being interested. However, that was not the case, it was a 14 year old local boy, stranded and in need of help.
        Local resources are so exhausted on responding to loser bum emergency calls that a child almost died from it.
        These bums have to go, for the sake of our towns, our safety, our children and our sanity.
        They have ruined this place.

  • Glad it all turned out o.k. Thanks to all who helped.

  • This is very troubling to hear the sheriff refused to help the person in the woods screaming for help. It’s hard not to remember these things when they ask for public support for pay raises.

  • Lost Croat Outburst

    The Sheriff’s office has had a tradition going back years, if not decades, of not taking missing or distressed person reports from SoHum seriously. You know, screw ’em. Very sad to hear that Sheriff Downey has not rectified that attitude issue. I gave him more credit than that. Very glad that it worked out and that convicts (prisoners) behaved more responsibly and humanely than the HCSO Deputy. Yeah, it was their “job” but the Deputy had a job, too. Guess the Deputy can sleep well knowing that the juvenile didn’t die due to his(?), (the Deputy’s), negligent attitude.

  • I think there is more to this story. Why and how did his leg get broken. Very odd place to be.

  • It’s amazing how so many people are quick to jump to conclusions that the Officer did nothing. He could very well have listened and not heard a thing. Many search and rescues won’t go out until first light due to lack of area knowledge or rough terrain. It’s sad when everyone is so quick to judge another without attempting for a moment to put yourself in their shoes and try to see both sides of the coin.

    • So quick to jump to conclusions? No, it’s quite obvious where the Sherrifs around here stand. They don’t give a shit about us. If I heard someone cry for help I’d start investigating because it would be my job, if I was a cop. They’re not here to protect and serve. They’re here to make money, end of story. So here’s a conclusion for ya if there’s no money gained in the situation there’s no time to waste on the matter. Thankfully the boy is okay because of CODY not our poor law enforcement..

  • I would be curious to know how the tech rescue team and the con camp were dispatched. Somebody somewhere took this kids cries for help seriously. Also, I think an official statement from the Sheriff’s dept is in order.

    Why was the kid there, and how did he break his leg. Why was he someplace that nobody knew where he was. Even at fourteen, I was expected to let my parents know where I was at all times, I think that is true in most cases.

    This has the opportunity to be a learning experience for everyone, or if it drops here, it will just be another tragic story.

    • His parents did know where he was suppose to be. He was looked for in this area as late as midnight and was heard by the neighbor of where he was staying.

      This article was online without any inquires from the boy or his parents. Partial facts. If someone wants details, ask, do not assume.



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