- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 21, 2005

KAMAS, Utah (AP) — An 11-year-old boy who vanished from a Boy Scout camp was found alive and in good condition yesterday after spending four days lost in the rugged Utah wilderness.

Sheriff Dave Edmunds said Brennan Hawkins was “a little dehydrated, a little weak, but other than that, he was in very good health.”

After downing bottles of water and eating all the granola bars carried by a group of volunteer searchers, the boy asked to play a video game on one rescuer’s cell phone, the sheriff said.

Thousands of searchers, many of them volunteers, had scoured the area for the boy, using long poles to probe a swollen river.

The youngster from the Salt Lake City suburb of Bountiful was found just before noon near Lily Lake, about five miles from the camp in the Uinta Mountains where he was last seen Friday. He was reunited with his parents and their four other children.

Brennan carried no food or water, and his family had said he did not have a good sense of direction. But the sheriff said the nights had been warm, with temperatures falling only into the 50s. The area is about 100 miles northeast of Salt Lake City.

It was not clear how he survived or whether he tried to find his way back to camp.

“He was in no mood to give us some details,” the sheriff said. “He just wanted to eat and see his mom.”

The boy and his family rode in an ambulance together to a Salt Lake City hospital.

“He laughed on the way here, just like he always has,” said his mother, Jody Hawkins.

“People say that the heavens are closed and God no longer answers prayers. We are here to unequivocally tell you that the heavens are not closed, prayers are answered, and children come home,” she told reporters as the family arrived at Primary Children’s Medical Center.

Kay Godfrey, a spokeswoman for the Boy Scouts’ Great Salt Lake Council, called the boy’s rescue a “modern-day miracle.”

Volunteer Forrest Nunley, a 43-year-old house painter from Salt Lake City, said he found Brennan “standing in the middle of the trail. He was all muddy and wet.”

The boy saw some volunteer searchers on horseback, but “he didn’t want to come out. He was too scared. He was a little delirious. I sat him down and gave him a little food,” Mr. Nunley said.

During the search, rescuers feared the boy had fallen into the East Fork of the Bear River, which was swollen by heavy snowmelt.

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