Local authorities scale back search for missing youngster
|Wally Hendrickson, Capt. Guy Adams and Paul Metelko of Carbon County rescue team plan the strategy for searchers looking for a missing 1-year-old boy last Thursday. Officials scaled back the efforts on Sunday.|
County public safety officials called a meeting of the families of Jayden Seal on Sunday afternoon and told them that authorities had decided to scale back the search for the youngster's body, but the recovery effort would continue.
"We had to make a decision," said Capt. Guy Adams of the county sheriff's office on Monday. "We will continue to look, but our resources have been strained and a lot of the people who have been looking are very tired."
The search for the 1-year-old began on July 30 when the vehicle in which he was riding with his parents, brother and sister was swept away by a 20-foot wall of water in Garley Wash south of Wildcat loadout on Trestle Road.
The force of the water dragged the vehicle nearly a mile down the wash. In the process, Jayden was swept out and away from his parents. The boy's older brother, Levi, died the next day of injuries incurred in the accident. At press time, there was no word on the condition of his sister, 3-year-old Brooklyn.
The accident began a large scale search for the boy, with crews hiking up and down the drainage almost immediately. Many immediate and extended family members joined in the search, but to no avail.
By 7 p.m. on July 30, the county sheriff's department started to call the search a recovery action rather than a rescue. The next morning, a command post was set up near the old school, south of the golf course.
For the next six days, the group of people searching grew as more rescue crews from around the state came to help.
Crews from Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, Summit, Emery, Utah and Duchesne counties came to assist Carbon emergency personnel. On Thursday, 10 canine teams from Duchesne, Rocky Mountain Dogs and American Search Dogs were trying to find traces of the little boy.
The search spanned a 50-mile area from the Garley Canyon, where the late 1980s Bronco came to rest, to near Mounds in southeastern Carbon County, where a net was put across Price River.
Crews with dogs searched the Garley Canyon area repeatedly, with the effort's concentration finally turning to the silt that had settled behind a culvert crossing Rim Rock Drive. The 10-foot culvert at the site would not handle all the water coming down the wash.
Personnel from the county road department began digging up part of the wash bank on Wednesday because dogs had indicated something could be there. Searchers found a diaper that could have been worn by the child.
On Thursday morning, the area was taken apart by the track hoe, but nothing was found. The track hoe was later used to start turning silt behind Rim Rock, again prompted by the search dogs. From about 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., crews focused on one or two spots. But after digging, searchers only found pieces of the Bronco and a case of compact discs that had been in the vehicle. The bowl behind the road measured about two acres, with silt ranging from a few inches to many feet deep.
During the weekend, searchers began to sift the silt in the bowl. But by Sunday, the youngster's family asked the search and rescue crews to stop sifting the silt.
Downstream searchers looked for signs of the boy aided by small flat-bottomed boats and rescue crews who waded through the water. Searchers covered areas between the sewage plant in Wellington and the point where the wash dumps into Price River in Carbonville.
"It was hard to stop for everyone," said Adams. "Many of these people have worked their regular shifts at work and then come down here to search for 12 hours. They are tired. But we will continue to look with teams as we can."
Wally Hendrickson from Duchesne County headed the majory of the efforts by the dog teams. Hendrickson indicated that some teams would be back in the next couple of weeks to find out what the dogs could find then.
Family members had also been searching for the missing little boy, either independently or attached to the official rescue teams. The Seals and Bishops were joined by the Jones and Chiara families. Peggy Hicks, Jayden's grandmother, traveled from Florida to aide in the search.
On Aug. 7, the command post was disassembled and the recovery operations in the future will be run by the Carbon County Sheriff's office.
Individuals who spot items that they believe might have been involved in the accident are encouraged to contact the sheriff's office at 636-3251.