STEVENS COUNTY, Wash. -- COLVILLE, Wash. - "Tough little girl."
That's how relieved grandpa John Warner says 8-year-old Paige Wilson survived two cold nights outside on her own in the Colville National Forest.
The Colville girl wandered away from her family's camp at about 4 p.m. Friday, wearing only shorts and a t-shirt . After a search by sheriff's deputies, other authorities and volunteers, she was found Sunday morning, by searchers working the Flodelle Creek area in Northern Stevens County.
An extensive search had been undertaken Friday and Saturday by the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of: Stevens County Explorer Search & Rescue, National Park Service, Wa. State Dept. of Natural Resources, U.S. Border and Customs Agents, Stevens County Sheriff’s Ambulance Team Rescue, Tri-County Dive Team, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife.
John Warner, Paige's grandfather, described the way they were feeling Friday night.
"Just frantic. I guess that's really the only word I can think of," Warner said.
Then Friday became all day Saturday. Helicopters from Fairchild Air Force Base, U.S. Border Patrol and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office also flew the area assisting with the search.
"We waited and waited and waited and cried," said Warner. "I was just hoping she was just lost and she hadn't been abducted by anybody."
On Sunday, August 22, 2010 Pend Oreille County Search & Rescue, Spokane Search & Rescue, Inter-Mountain Search Dogs, and Okanogan County Search Dogs and other volunteers joined the search effort.
Paige was located approximately 2.5 miles from the campground, walking along Sherry Creek road which is a gravel road.
"She was quiet and shaky. Kind of like in shock a little bit," said Alan Crawford, who found Paige. "I asked her are you cold and hungry? She said, 'yes.'"
Paige was reunited with family members at the command post on Flodelle creek and was transported by the Stevens County Sheriff’s Ambulance to Mt. Carmel Hospital where she has been admitted for treatment of mild hypothermia as a result of her ordeal.
Paige had spent more than 40 hours, including two nights, in the woods without food or water and temperatures had dropped to the high 30’s and low 40’s during the nighttime.
The Stevens County Sheriff’s Office wishes to express our thanks to all the agencies, individuals and teams that participated in this successful search and rescue mission.