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Boy, 5, found dead after mom left him on trail to seek help

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter sits in a beach area in order to airlift personnel with Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad to a remote area of Lunch Creek in the search for a missing boy, Saturday, March 28, 2020, at a state recreation site in Ketchikan, Alaska. A search continued into Saturday morning for a 5-year-old boy reported missing on Lunch Creek Trail. Jaxson Brown and his mother, Jennifer Treat, set out for a hike Wednesday afternoon, but became disoriented and lost the trail. They spent the night together, and in the morning Treat left Jaxson to seek help on her own. In her own search, Treat suffered a serious injury to her leg. Treat was located 3 miles up the trail and airlifted off the trail by helicopter late Thursday afternoon. On Friday, searchers found a shoe that belonged to the boy. (Dustin Safranek/Ketchikan Daily News via AP)
March 31, 2020 - 1:34 PM

KETCHIKAN, Alaska - The body of a 5-year-old boy was found on an Alaska trail days after he and his mother got lost, and then the mother left him to find help on her own, State Troopers said.

Searchers found Jaxson Brown Saturday afternoon on the Lunch Creek Trail, the Ketchikan Daily News reported.

“An autopsy will be conducted to determine the manner and cause of death. At this time, while it is very tragic, it doesn’t appear to be suspicious in nature,” troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

Troopers began the search Friday for the boy and his mother, Jennifer Treat, 36. Her vehicle was parked at the trailhead, and the trail extends for nearly 5 miles (8 kilometres) to Emory Tobin Lake. The trail ranged from improved walkways and boardwalks to hard-to-traverse areas with mud in some places and snow waist-deep in others., said Jerry Kiffer, Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad incident commander.

Treat and her son began hiking the trail Wednesday afternoon and didn’t intend to stay the night. But troopers said they “became disoriented and lost the trail.”

They spent the night together on the trail. On Thursday morning, the boy was tired and didn’t want to hike any longer, troopers said. Treat left him to find help on her own.

“In her rush to find help, Treat reportedly tripped on a root and significantly injured her leg,” troopers said.

Searchers found Treat Friday afternoon, and took her off the trail by a helicopter.

The boy’s body was found later Saturday further up the trail from where his mother was rescued, troopers said.

Temperatures in the low 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5 degrees Celsius) Wednesday evening dipped to lower overnight. Light rain, fog and mist persisted from Thursday through Saturday.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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