A trucker and his 11-year-old son were found in an Idaho forest after the man allegedly took the boy from his mother and claimed they were going to an amusement park.
11-year-old Gabriel Daugherty and his truck driving father, 37-year-old Addam Daugherty, were reported missing out of LaGrange, Georgia on April 28th and were not found until May 11th near the Canyon Creek Trailhead in the Clearwater National Forest in Idaho along Highway 12.
According to KTVB 7 News, Daugherty told the boy’s mother that they were taking a trip to an amusement park, but instead headed north to Idaho. The pair then abandoned their rental car at the Canyon Creek Trailhead and walked into the woods in an apparent attempt to run away.
Idaho State Police spotted the car at the trailhead on May 4th, and ran the plates when the car had not moved in six days. The car was then returned to the rental company, shortly before police learned that it was related to the Daugherty’s disappearance.
The Idaho State Police, Idaho Fish and Game, and the Forest Service then launched a search for the pair using drones and people on foot. The two were eventually found 2.5 miles from the Highway and surrounded at their camp. Daugherty was taken into custody after refusing medical care and Gabriel was taken to a nearby hospital.
Deputies say that Daugherty appeared shocked when he was found, and that they believe he had planned the getaway after driving a truck route through the remote wilderness along Highway 12.
“He thought he was in the middle of the wilderness and would never be found,” Idaho County Chief Deputy Brian Hewson said.
“Two and a half miles is a ways in that country. It was clear he had this planned,” he continued.
“They were really unprepared: food, clothing, sleeping arrangements,” Hewson continued, adding that the area was too damp to start a fire, and that their clothes and tent were wet by the time officers arrived.
“They were starting to eat local plant life, and snails, and little bugs when they found them. [Gabriel] was feeling very weak and sick. He mentioned he was glad we showed up when we did.”
Gabriel is currently still hospitalized in the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. He is expected to be returned to his mother in Georgia following a shelter care hearing. Daugherty is still being held on a Georgia warrant for non-custodial parent abduction.
“Things would have become pretty desperate for them,” Hewson added. “It turned out good.”