Missing 2-year-old Molalla girl found in remote area
A 2-year-old child who was missing yesterday in the Molalla River Recreation Area has been found, and it is a helpful citizen on horseback who has earned hero status.
The remote recreation area, located about 10 miles south of Molalla, has very limited cellular reception, which made it difficult for police to obtain detailed information, per the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.
Still, the Sheriff's Office received two initial calls on Thursday, Nov. 7 at approximately 11:19 a.m. One was from a passerby who was flagged down by a grandmother who said she had lost her grandchild. The other was from another passerby who was flagged down by a logger who said they were looking for a missing child.
Police said in both cases, the caller had to travel to an area where there was cell-phone reception before calling 911.
Sheriff's Office deputies, Molalla Police and Search and Rescue Coordinators responded to the area to learn that Gayla Ann Jay, 62, of Molalla, had been on a walk with her two grandchildren in the recreation area when Iris Nix, 2, of Molalla, had run ahead on the trail and out of sight.
Jay tried to catch up, but came to a four-way split in the trail and didn't know which direction Iris had gone, police said.
After searching for 15 minutes, Jay sought help. Jay attempted to flag down logging crews passing by on the road. Several stopped to help look for Iris.
Resources from across the county, including the Clackamas County Water Rescue Consortium, were deployed to the area.
Police said even residents in the area began to pitch in. Among them was Tammy Stevens, 59, of Beavercreek. She was riding her horse, Bo, on a trail along with her two dogs Wilson and Maddie. When she heard there was a missing 2-year-old girl in the area, she immediately joined the search, scouring some steep terrain on horseback.
After about 20 minutes of searching, Stevens heard a child crying. She told Wilson, "Go get her."
Wilson led Stevens to a steep hill, where she got off her horse and climbed the approximately 70-foot hill with her dog to find Iris just after 1 p.m.
After 10 minutes, Stevens found Dave Hamblin, a senior log truck driver for Marson Trucking Inc. who had been helping in the search as well. He was able to bring Iris to where deputies and medical personnel were located.
"Our company is very proud of Dave's care and commitment," said Jeff Marson, Jr.
Molalla Fire paramedics checked Iris out and she was reunited with her family.
Iris was found off Looney's Trail, about half a mile from Hardy Creek.
The Sheriff's Office wants to thank Stevens, Hamblin and the many others who helped in the efforts to find Iris.
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