8-Year-Old Runaway Found!

Facebook post from the Del Norte County Sheriff:

del norte sheriffAs your Sheriff, I would like to personally offer my sincerest appreciation to our community members that took action and helped locate a missing eight year old boy today. It’s moments like these that remind us all how fortunate we are to live in a small community filled with people that care about their neighbors.

Late afternoon today, the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a missing boy from the area of Fred Haight Drive and North Street in Smith River. I was able to respond with Deputy Oilar and even though there was a small language barrier, we were able to develop indicators that the young boy ran away from home. The combination of his age, current weather condition, nearby highway and quickly approaching darkness made this incident very concerning.

We utilized a translator from within our staff, Del Norte Search and Rescue was activated and an incident command post was established. Several Search and Rescue members arrived on scene within minutes. We began searching the area systematically and actually located surveillance that provided us with a possible direction of travel. I attempted to put the information out on social media but my cell service was inoperable. Our communications center was also suddenly inundated with multiple emergency and non-emergency calls but information regarding the missing boy was relayed to all local agencies over the main radio channel.

That radio traffic was posted on The Del Norte and Curry County Scanner Feed (privately operated page on Facebook). The news spread quickly as people shared the information and commented.

While searching the area, we received tips from residents that the missing boy may have been seen at a local market and a US Postal Courier advised us she saw him buying snacks at the nearby casino. As we directed units north, dispatch advised us a woman reported having him in her sight near the casino. Search and Rescue responded in less than a minute to confirm the child was in fact the missing boy and found two women keeping him close by. I was also on scene just behind Search and Rescue. I noticed the young boy was soaked, cold and crying.

He was returned to his parents immediately via a ride in a Search and Rescue vehicle just as the weather worsened, darkness arrived and visibility on the highway became dangerously low.

I think he learned a valuable lesson today and I was once again reminded just how special our Del Norte Community really is. I feel incredibly fortunate to have great deputies, outstanding dispatchers, a top notch Search and Rescue team, great support on social media and community members that understand public safety is a shared responsibility by all residents.

Our county is truly at its best when we work together. Thank you to each and every one of you that contributed to the safe return of a young boy to his family.



  • We are so lucky to live in a community of awsome people who do care!!if we could handle things like this when we come together as a community,imagine what we could do to build our whole County back to where we could all be happy again!!!

  • Awww. Good job Del Norte!

  • Great job to all, I love happy endings! As a person who did the same thing when I was a child decades ago, I hope someone inquires as to why he ran away in the first place…that troubles me.

  • Ditto to all 3 points of Guest. It is super swell that folks saved this kid. The next step is for CWS to go there with an appropriate translator and do a little digging.

    • Really? You want CWS to go hassle these people because their 8 yo ran away? Do you have children? Most kids do get mad at their parents for one thing or another (No. You can’t have a motorcycle. You’re 8 years old. No, you can’t have ice cream for dinner. You know, the usual things parents have to tell their children) I ran away from home when I was 2. I ran away to our neighbor’s house because my mom told me I had to have a nap. She helped me pack. But that was waaaaaay back in the 1900s, in Klamath, before the big flood.
      I would not wish a visit by CWS (CPS) on any undeserving family, except maybe yours. Why do you want to punish these parents, and entire family?
      I’m not saying that CWS doesn’t have it’s place. But they do, as a department, have a tendency to over react.

  • After living in Arcata, Mckinleyville and then finally Westhaven for many, many years I continued my slow northward migration to Del Norte and stories like this reaffirm that it was the right thing to do. Crescent City is often the butt of a lot of jokes and deservedly so to some extent but it truly is a wonderful community and a good place to raise your children. I still love Humboldt but times change and so do people and places. The things that I see and hear about Humboldt when I am there just make me shake my head. Kudos to all those who helped get this boy home. It’s not too late Humboldt, try to stay gold.

    • Not 2 mention those rescuers were in the middle of nowhere when they received the call, searching for a lost mushroom picker. Way to get the job done DEL NORTE COUNTY.

  • I still marvel he got that far in this weather. Never underestimate a kid’s steely determination for candy, I guess….

  • just want to say good job

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