4-year-old California boy found safe after spending night alone in wilderness

Gabe Ferris Image
Sunday, June 23, 2024
Missing 4-year-old boy at Huntington Lake found safe, authorities confirm
The four-year-old boy who went missing from a campground at Huntington Lake on Thursday has been found safe.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. -- The four-year-old boy who went missing from a Fresno County, California campground on Thursday has been found safe.

Rescuers found Christian Ramirez under a tree around 8 am Friday, nearly 24 hours after he went missing.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office says he disappeared from the Rancheria Campground at Huntington Lake, where he'd been staying with his family.

Ramirez, who is just three feet tall, 40 pounds spent the night in the woods in a t-shirt and shorts.

"In situation, in a matter of less than five minutes, he just disappeared," said Fresno County Sheriff's Lt. Brandon Pursell

The Fresno County sheriff's office quickly launched a full-court press to find Christian.

Dogs, helicopters, and nearly 70 rescuers, some with the U.S. Forest Service, searched for the boy through the night, canvassing steep and rocky terrain.

Then hours after sunrise, a breakthrough.

"We're fortunate this morning that as these searchers were calling out for the boy, he called back," said Pursell.

Members of the Tulare County Sheriff's search and rescue team found Christian under a tree about a quarter of a mile away from the family's campsite.

"Huntington is known to have bears. There's possibilities of big cats up there also. We also have snakes. There's lots of little dangers up there. Slip-and-fall hazards and waterways."

Authorities say Christian and his family are in good spirits and thankful for his safe return.

Now, as campsites fill up for the summer, officials are reminding parents to watch children closely and tell them what to do if there's an emergency.

"If you're going to be up in the area, especially in the woods, around the waterways, and you have small children, you need to constantly be watching them. In any small break, the kid can be gone," said Pursell.

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