• Jan 14, 2021

A search for a missing 11-year-old boy along the banks of the Arkansas River east of Buena Vista yesterday afternoon ended when a hiker spotted the boy walking safely along the river.

“There was a family visiting from Texas, so they were out of town, and he had left about 12:30 p.m., and about an hour had gone by and he hadn’t come back,” said Buena Vista Police chief Dean Morgan.

The boy, Josiah Carter, likes to explore, but being absent for that amount of time in an unfamiliar town led his family to contact the police.

The call came in at around 1:30 p.m., and Morgan estimates that around 2:30, Carter was found by a Chaffee County Fire Protection District searcher following a tip from a woman walking along the river.

“Usually when we start a search like that we throw out a quick dragnet, check some areas he might be, and when that didn’t reveal anything we decided pretty quickly to get some more resources involved,” Morgan said.

Chaffee County Search & Rescue-North, Chaffee County Fire Protection District, Buena Vista Fire Department and Chaffee County Sheriff’s deputies were called in to assist, and an incident command post was established at BVPD.

“We canvassed the neighborhoods in South Main, which was the area he was last seen, and got the word out to a lot of the businesses and used social media as well to get his picture and everything out there,” Morgan said.

In addition, Morgan said that Colorado State Patrol were on the lookout for the boy, the Colorado Department of Corrections were prepared to offer a K9 to assist in the search and REACH Air Medical Services were on standby in case further aerial searches were required.

“Our concern was, if he got lost or something out there, as nightfall was approaching, we wanted some eyes in the sky,” Morgan said.

Search & Rescue and Chaffee County Fire were also prepared to deploy unmanned aerial systems to search the area, Morgan said.

Fortunately, these measures were not needed: “A woman walking spotted a young man about his age down near the river and a Chaffee County firefighter pretty quickly got to that location, and it was the young man, and he was safe,” Morgan said.