“We’re all fathers,” McNames said. “You can’t find them if you’re not looking, and you want the best outcome possible. It was definitely looking bleak, there’s no doubt about that, but you don’t lose hope … You just can’t give up.”
On Wednesday, the search managers happened to give McNames and his team a grid east of the resort to search further. When he spotted Jude near the beaver pond, the boy was lying on the ground, very still.
“He was laying down on some grass, on his stomach, just laying down peacefully, ’til Greg got up to him,” McNames said. “When I picked him up, he was warm, he wasn’t shivering, but he asked for water. That’s about all he said. He wanted water.”
To be careful, McNames said officers would give Jude little sips of water, wait until he asked again, and then give him more. McNames said Jude was more exhausted and bewildered than scared.
While it wasn’t surprising that Jude was tired after three and a half days alone in the forest, McNames said the three-foot-five boy had also made quite a trek. Where they found him was 982 metres from the family retreat as the crow flies.
“It’s rocky, it’s up and down, there are trails that lead out there, but for how long he stayed on the trail I don’t know. He was found a little ways off a very faint trail,” McNames said. “There’s swamps, there’s lakes … You can’t walk in a straight line from (the retreat). Who knows how much walking he did before he finally just laid down.
“It’s rough terrain. It’s incredible where he was.”
McNames carried Jude all the way back to the retreat, where his parents met them before they arrived at the clearing around the lodges. Cheers and clapping erupted.
McNames said it could have been anyone who found Jude. His team just happened to be given the right search grid.
“It’s a total team effort from everyone involved,” McNames said. “When it comes together like this and there a positive result, it’s pretty gratifying.”
This content was originally published here.