Five-Year-Old Boy Dies on Hiking Trail After Lost Mom Leaves Him Alone to Find Help

She said he was too tired to come with her.

A five-year-old Alaskan boy was found dead on Saturday, three days after he and his mom got lost on a five-mile hiking trail.

Jennifer Treat, 36, left her son Jaxson Brown alone on the Lunch Creek Trail as she attempted to find help, but fell and seriously injured her leg.

The 36-year-old made the ill-fated decision to hike on Wednesday afternoon — on a trail that had waist-deep snow in parts.

The pair became disorientated and lost the trail, and were forced to spend the night in the wilderness.

The following morning, Jaxson’s mom made the decision to seek help on her own because the boy was too tired.

“They spent the night together,” the dispatch stated, according to the Ketchikan Daily News. “In the morning, Treat left Jaxson to seek help on her own, as he was reportedly tired and didn’t want to hike anymore.

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

The search didn’t begin until 10.30am Friday morning when state troopers were alerted that the pair were missing. They found Treat’s car parked at the trail head. Treat herself was found about three miles up the trail, where she told rescuers she had left her son behind. She was airlifted to hospital by helicopter.

But Jaxson was nowhere to be found.

Members of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, US Forest Service Law Enforcement, and North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department all assisted in the search, but all they could find was a single shoe belonging to the boy.

A Coast Guard helicopter even joined the search overnight using infrared systems to scan the area, but came up empty-handed.

Conditions on the trail ranged from improved areas and boardwalks to areas that are “really heavy with blow down, and muddy and hard to traverse,” said Jerry Kiffer, Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad incident commander. “You’ve kind of got the gamut all the way up to the lake.” Some areas were dry, he said, while others had waist-deep snow.

According to Trooper Sgt. Grant Miller, while the boy had been on the trail before, “we are not certain how far up the trail he’s been. He has never been by himself.”

It wasn’t until 2:45 p.m. on Saturday that Jaxson’s body was found, around 1,000ft from the trail, and further up from where his mother was rescued.

An autopsy will determine the cause of death; the weather — with rain, mist and fog, and overnight temperatures plummeting to mid 30s during the time he was missing — may have been a factor.

The death is not being treated as suspicious.

[via TooFab]

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