The four day search for 11-year-old Brennan Hawkins in the Unita Mountains has a lot of people scratching their heads.
Thousands of people joined the search after Brennan separated from his companion at a climbing wall and got disoriented on a well worn trail back to his campsite at the East Fork of the Bear River Scout Reservation and wound up climbing (rather than going lower) 400 feet and five miles up steep trail over a ridge. Searchers concentrated their efforts farther downstream which was swollen from the huge snows this winter.
Although rescuers came close to Brennan he did not answer them because he had been told not to talk to strangers.
Forrest Nunley who was not part of the organized search party played a hunch and drove higher up the ridge — thinking Brennan may have been afraid of the river — when he found him cold and wet. Nunley summoned Brennan’s uncle who had just passed on horseback while he went back down to get EMT’s.
Brennan has told authorities he drank from the river but had no other food. He slept at night (with temps in the 50s) by pulling his sweatshirt over him.
One report indicated the Scouts were reconsidering that Scouts spent a night alone as part of the the wilderness survival merit badge requirements.
Blogs have been lighting up on the strange culture of Utah’s missing in light of the 2002 Elizabeth Smart kidnapping as well as on comments by Brennan’s mother that he was a little slow because he was prematurely born. And there were lots of comments that all sensational missing cases are “attractive white people” prompting a Jay Leno joke — “that’s why nobody is looking for Dick Cheney.”
Findbrennan.org had been set up.