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Missing Boy Scout Found Unharmed

March 06, 1995|ERROL A. COCKFIELD Jr. and ALAN ABRAHAMSON | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

An 11-year-old North Hollywood Boy Scout who wandered away from an overnight camp in the rugged wilderness of the Angeles National Forest was found Sunday afternoon, shivering and wet but otherwise fine, authorities said.

Sheriff's deputies found the missing Scout, Shawn Haff, wandering around a creek bed about three miles north of Camp Valcrest, a lodge and campsite about 25 miles northeast of La Canada Flintridge. He had been missing since Saturday afternoon, when he walked away from the camp.

"I guess I missed dinner," Shawn said as rescuers arrived, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Don Wyman, who helped lead the search.

Shawn was reported missing about 3:30 p.m. Saturday from the camp, where about 50 boys and adults from a San Fernando Valley Boy Scout troop were spending the night, camp manager Scott Johnson said.

About a half a dozen sheriff's deputies searched the canyons and creek beds until 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Wyman said. The search resumed at daybreak, with reinforcements: 20 searchers, seven dogs and, when the rain let up, a helicopter.

Searchers included teams from the Crescenta Valley, Sierra Madre, Altadena and Malibu sheriff's stations.

Rescuers found Shawn at about noon, wearing a rain-soaked blue snowsuit, Wyman said. As a precaution against hypothermia, Shawn was airlifted to Antelope Valley Hospital Medical Center. Doctors found a few bruises on his legs but said he was fine.

At the hospital, Shawn, who has asthma and is blind in his right eye, said he remembered little about being lost--only how he kept warm. "I dragged myself under a tree," he said.

His mother, Sareena Haff, 30, said she was "so relieved." She added: "I was thinking, 'My son's unconscious and he's lying out there somewhere. . . .' "

Meanwhile, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who himself had gotten lost Saturday while hiking with his 4-year-old daughter in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, walked out of the canyons Sunday to safety, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department said.

Out for an afternoon hike, Michael Arias, 36, and daughter Sierra Phillips found that the rain washed out their trail. When they tried to find another way out, they got lost--but met two other lost hikers, Kathy Callahan and Jodie Summers, both 39.

All four spent the night under oak trees, trying to stay dry.

About 9 a.m., the women split off. A couple of hours later, Arias and his daughter hiked out of Sycamore Canyon--just west of the Los Angeles County line--found a phone and called 911. Rangers located the two women.

None of the four was hurt, authorities said.

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