The search for a Boy Scout who disappeared during a camping trip in a North Carolina park resumed on Monday after the child’s mess kit was found about three-quarters of a mile from where he last was seen in Doughton Park.
Some 70 ground searchers, a state police helicopter and five dog teams picked up the search for Michael Auberry, who wandered away from his troop’s campsite two days ago in the rugged terrain of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Chopper and tactical tracking teams were being used Monday, and searchers were also going to check out drainage ditches. They will focus their search in the area from where Michael’s mess kit was found and outward.
“The most probable thing is that he walked away, went out in the woods and went to investigate,” said David Bauer, a ranger with the parkway.
He last was seen wearing a red coat and hiking boots, and has had survival training lessons with the Boy Scouts but no means to start a fire, Bauer said. Rescuers were expected to search the area between the campsite and where Auberry’s mess kit was found.
“He’s trained to seek shelter at night, cover himself up with leaves” for warmth, Bauer said. “We’re hopeful at this point … I’ve been on searches that have lasted over a week in worse weather and we’ve had successful outcomes.
“He was dressed appropriately for the time of year. It was going to be a miserable night for him, but survivable.”
He didn’t accompany his troop on a hike Saturday morning because he wanted to sleep in. Michael had lunch with the group, but was noticed to be missing shortly after.
Debbie Hayes, Michael’s mother, said he was wearing a red heavy outercoat and an inner fleece coat, and had gloves and a hat in a pocket. He was wearing a dark blue University of North Carolina Tar Heels baseball cap.