By: Lani Hansen, Senior Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– On Feb. 22 around 5:45 p.m. a 13-year-old Native American boy went missing, he was later found alive and well on Tuesday afternoon Feb. 23.
Reports say he was in the Stidham area, where he was operating an orange Kubota tractor.
According to Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Police Chief Richard Phillips, they were contacted by the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Department to help coordinate and map out the search for this boy.
“We rallied at the Stidham school, since it was close to the last location of the boy,” Phillips stated.
Phillips said they covered about 80 squared miles, and before the boy was found he was missing for about 30 to 31 hours. About 80 plus people were involved in the search including Oklahoma Highway Patrol who provided a helicopter, Oklahoma Bureau Narcotics they provided a drone, Lighthorse provided 20 to 30 officers and McIntosh Sheriff’s Department.
The boy was found in the afternoon by searchers. One of the volunteers had been walking the same area as Lighthorse K-9 unit Captain Patrick Williams and his dog Nitro.
“There was a couple of times his dog had alerted on a different trail they were searching,” Phillips said. “He gave his dog some lead, and then they followed his dog. As they got close to where the boy was found, one of the volunteers was coming toward them and pointed out the boy.”
When the boy was found he was asleep, wet from the waist down and tired. He had walked about 20 miles from where he was last seen.
MCN Lighthorse Chief Phillips thanks all those who helped.
He said from bringing donuts, water and snacks, Stidham Schools principal and coach for providing hospitality, the church in Stidham and just the community volunteers.