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Search For Missing Boy Continues At Reduced Levels

Crater Lake National Park

National Park News

The search for Samuel Boehlke, the 8-year-old boy lost at Crater Lake National Park since last Saturday, will be scaled back significantly beginning today.  The search area was covered numerous times by up to 200 searchers over the past six days, with different search teams utilizing a wide variety of techniques and modes, including grid searches, high-angle and technical climbing, canine searches teams, horseback teams, watercraft search teams, helicopters equipped with infrared cameras, and handheld infrared cameras. No clues were found, other than scent alerts detected by canine searchers on several days.  Although each of these was thoroughly investigated, they did not reveal the missing boy’s location. 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 deeply appreciative of the extraordinary contributions by all of the agencies and individuals who participated in this search,” said chief ranger Dave Brennan. “We are disappointed that our intensive search efforts over the past six days have not located Samuel. Our sympathies go out to Samuel’s family, and we understand how difficult it must be for them to cope with this uncertainty.” 

The family has released the following statement: “Like any other eight-year-old, Sammy Boehlke 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. Although searchers have had this information since the start of the search, in the interests of maintaining their privacy, the family has not released it to the public until today.  However, the great public sympathy and media interest in the search for Sammy have prompted the family to take this opportunity to help people learn about ASD.  For more information, please contact the Oregon Health Sciences University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, or visit their web site at In addition, the family expresses their 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.’ While expressing their appreciation for volunteer involvement and public sympathy for the search, the family would like to reiterate their request to be left in privacy at this difficult time.  Although they are aware of the numerous inquiries made by the media, they are not interested in speaking directly with reporters.”


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