Sad news out of Crater Lake National Park today, as officials have decided to scale back a search for an 8-year-old missing since last Saturday.
At times more than 200 people have searched for Samuel Boehlke. They've searched on the ground, with dog teams, from the air, and from boats, and none of the efforts has provided any clues to the boy's whereabouts.
In announcing the decision to scale back the efforts, the Park Service issued the following statement:
"Due to the low likelihood of survival after five days in cold, wet and snowy conditions, the search for Samuel Boehlke will shift to a limited continuous search beginning today. Most teams assigned to the search will be released, but small-scale ground and air searches will continue intermittently until winter arrives."
“We are disappointed that our intensive search efforts over the past six days have not located Samuel," added Chief Ranger Dave Brennan. "Our sympathies go out to Samuel’s family, and we understand how difficult it must be for them to cope with this uncertainty.”
In a statement of their own, Samuel's parents said their son "likes root beer, mac
& cheese with extra cheese, and corn dogs. He likes playing with
Yugio cards, Legos, and tinker toys. He enjoys playing with sticks and
digging in the dirt. Pirates and dragons are his special interests.
He likes hiking, fishing, and being out of doors. His favorite stuffed
animals are Piggy and Treasure the horse.
"But Sammy has a disorder that affects his life. What might be merely irritating to another person can be overwhelming to Sammy. Sammy has Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a condition also known as high functioning autism. Sammy has extreme reactions to loud noises such as blow dryers and barking dogs. Because loud noises cause him to run away or hide with his hands over his ears, searchers were asked from the beginning not to use sirens, whistles, or other loud noises to locate Sammy. This has been a factor in the difficulty of the search."
For more information on this disorder, visit the Oregon Health Sciences University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at this site.
The family also expressed its thanks to the paid and unpaid professionals who participated in the search "for their incredible conduct, kindness, and superb efforts on behalf of our families. We appreciate the sacrifice their families are making for them to be here."