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.

August 5, 2010

An Unhappy Ending For A Little Boy And His Family (And SAR Too)

On Monday evening, August 2nd, Emmett Trapp's mom awoke from a nap and discovered her 2-year-old son--one of her four children--was missing from their home in Dewey, Arizona. After family and neighbors searched the area without luck, they called 9-1-1.

Yavapai County Sheriff's deputies arrived within ten minutes, and the search quickly expanded from there, to include law enforcement personnel, Search and Rescue teams from multiple counties, and citizen volunteers. As of dawn on Wednesday morning, Emmett still had not been found.

Searchers from multiple agencies and counties at base, getting ready to deploy

Our SAR team from Coconino County was called to assist beginning on Wednesday. Two of my teammates and I, and three Golden Retriever area search dogs, arrived at incident command before 6a.m. More of our teammates would join the search later that morning, but the three of us wanted to get started with the dogs as early as possible, since they work better in the cooler air. When they get too hot, the dogs breathe more through their mouths so their noses can't work as effectively.

Cindy gets her boys ready to go.

After checking in at base, we received our assignment and went directly to our search segment. Our SAR dog handler determined the direction of the barely detectable breeze with her little bottle of powder, positioned us accordingly for the dogs, then worked with her canine partners while also searching the thick brush herself. The dogs would alert her if they detected human scent.

The dogs are already working as we head to our assigned segment.

My other partner and I flanked the handler on either side and slightly behind her, taking care of the navigation and doing our parts of the grid search. We pushed our way through the tangled mass of cat claw, which grabbed at our clothing and skin, trying our best to stay in formation despite the difficult terrain. A small child could easily crawl under the bushes and be very hard to see.

After we'd covered more than half of our assigned area, another field team of 14 searchers, I believe, moved into that same segment behind us, walking a grid perpendicular to ours.

View of base from our first assigned search segment on the hill
Eventually, Incident Command gave the three of us a new assignment--to work together as a dog handler and her dogs and two human man-trackers--when another field team located what looked to be a small footprint. So we relocated to the site of that print and began to work the track.

Again, we were reassigned when another field team located what appeared to be fresher footprints, also small and clearly barefoot as Emmett had been reported to be, further from the Trapps' home than we were. So, we got in our truck and took off to jump ahead of those tracks, which were headed in the direction of the highway. Our assignment was to determine if the tracks crossed beneath the highway through the culverts. If not, we were to work in the opposite direction of the team following the track, so we'd be going towards them. Emmett would hopefully be somewhere in the middle.

But the search ended as we arrived at our new area. Sure enough, Emmett had been between us and the team on the track, who located him. Sadly, though, little Emmett had not survived.

Related Article: Missing Two-Year-Old Found Dead

News video:

The media hang out on the periphery of the search area

1 comment:

Telaviper said...

Thanks as always to you Cindy and the rest of your team for coming down and helping out with this search.