Over the time there have been a number of escapes from wilderness program. Some were successful for the teenager, who managed to get home. Some were unsuccessful resulting in severe penalty. Some were even tragic ending in the death of the teenager. This month we will focus on some of the articles found in the media and comment on them. Here is an article from the Emery County News:
Missing boy from wilderness program found on desert
Emery County News, October 28, 2014
The Emery County Sheriff's Office and search and rescue located a runaway male juvenile missing from the Cedar Mountain Area. He is 17 years old, approximately 135 pounds with brown hair and eyes. He was last seen on Friday night. He was not fully clothed wearing socks, leggings, and a green wool sweater. Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk said, "The Sheriff's Office was contacted on Saturday morning and we began the search. We combed the Cedar Mountain area. We finally located the boy, he was hiding. His intent he said was to go to California. We had the UHP helicopter and Eagle Air med flying the area searching for the boy. We also did a ground search and tracked the boy for a mile when we lost him in the rocks. The boy was on the move when he ran into the Elements staff. He was enrolled in the Elements Wilderness program. One of the things they do is take the shoes and pants from the participants. They are out here for two months in the program. This boy was from back east and didn't want to be here. He was combative when he was located. The deputies got the boy under control and he was returned to the program.
"This situation is alarming. We go on two to three searches a year for these kids. The frequency of the searches has me worried. I worry for the safety of these teenagers. I also worry they might get into our communities and steal a vehicle from one of our residents. I am talking to them about using more advanced forms of technology for keeping their participants in place.
"My biggest concern is that we might lose the life of one of these children. If they die from exposure to the harsh desert environment, that really concerns me. We are investigating better ways to handle these situations. The boy was in good condition and he spent two nights in hiding. He was stiff and sore but otherwise unharmed," said Sheriff Funk.
The sheriff was right with his concern as we will show in a later post. Please consider what kind of technology which is useful. Even a GPS tracking device will not be of use because it would be the first thing the student will lose. The core of the program is the involuntary placement of the teenagers. The wilderness functions very badly as a prison. It has no boundaries; it can be dangerous regarding wildlife and terrain.
If you were in this program at the time of the escape, we would like to hear from you. What took place and what made this young man run away?