About Coconino County

About Coconino County

Encompassing 18,661 square miles, Coconino County, Arizona, is the second largest county in the U.S. but one of the least populated. Our county includes Grand Canyon National Park, the Navajo, Havasupai, Hualapai and Hopi Indian Reservations, and the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world. Elevations range from 2,000 feet above sea level along the Colorado River to 12,633 feet at the summit of Mt. Humphreys in Flagstaff.

Three Ongoing Searches

This is one of them, as reported on the Arizona Daily Sun website this afternoon:

7-year-old boy missing near Red Mountain

"A 7-year-old boy who was on an outing near Red Mountain with a group from The Guidance Center in Flagstaff has been reported missing.

According to information from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, Michael Sandoval has been missing since about 3 p.m. Monday in the Red Mountain area off Highway 180 about 30 miles north of the city. He was part of a group of three adults and 10 clients from TGC. He was last seen wearing a black ball cap with an image of a white bear in the front, a medium to dark blue shirt with the word “baseball” on the front in white letters. He also was wearing blue jeans and skateboard shoes.

Search and Rescue crews on the ground and an Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter crew have been searching the area.

Anybody traveling on Highway 180 in the area of Red Mountain are asked to watch for the missing child and to contact sheriff’s officials if the boy is sighted by calling 774-4523 or 1-800-338-7888."

I just got home after being relieved by a fresh team after 17 hours in the field from 5:45PM yesterday till 11AM today. Needless to say, I'm punchy from lack of sleep. Not to mention very concerned for the little boy. My field partner and I called his name throughout the night, searching along a network of dirt roads in the area, while other teammates searched on foot and ATVs. Members of our canine unit were on scene as well.

We'd discovered some tracks thought to belong to the boy and were following them when our crew of bleary-eyed searchers were relieved by fresh eyes this morning.

Also in today's edition of the Arizona Daily Sun was this news about the continued search for Mark Irby, which began on January 2nd of this year:

ATV belonging to missing man found

"The recent discovery of the ATV belonging to a Valley man who went missing from his Forest Lakes vacation home earlier this year has reignited the search for the man.

According to information from the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, on Saturday, two men on a hunting and fishing trip found the red Bombardier ATV belonging to Mark R. Irby abandoned off Forest Service Road 170, about a mile southeast of Chevelon Canyon Lake and about 12 miles by road from Irby's cabin. Irby, 51, was last seen riding the ATV on Jan. 2. According to family members, Irby was going to take a short ride around the subdivision before returning to his primary home in Chandler. He was not dressed to hike or spend an extended amount of time in the woods, which had a deep snow pack at the time.

On Sunday, police and search and rescue volunteers began combing the area where the ATV was found and intensive search efforts will continue throughout the week. Searchers had not previously covered the Chevelon Canyon Lake area.

More than 1,800 hours have been invested in the search for Irby."

I participated in this ongoing search on Sunday and would have been back at it today had the call not come in for the missing child yesterday afternoon, which kept me out all night.

Meanwhile, we've yet to find the man from the van abandoned along Interstate 17 near the scenic vista south of Munds Park.

Nine contiguous days of Search & Rescue activity for our team ... and counting. And, not so long ago, I'd remarked about how quiet it had been for more than a month.

Now off to the shower and to squeeze in some errands before an early bedtime. I have a feeling the pager will be going off today for more searching tomorrow.

*Update at 12:50pm, I just found out via Twitter that the boy has been found! Sounds like he's okay. At 12:47 @FlagstaffNews posted: "Searchers found 7 year old boy who spent night in forest after getting separated from group yesterday. He's being checked out now."

*And a few minutes later, this breaking news story showed up on the Arizona Daily Sun website: Searchers Find Missing 7-Year Old Boy. Phew!

*Check out this news story with videos from Channel 3, including a video of Michael Sandoval explaining how he survived the cold night alone in the forest.