A 3-year-old boy who wandered off from his family’s yard and survived two days alone in the Montana wilderness was found taking cover in a shed more than two miles away, authorities said in newly released details Thursday.
Little Ryker Webb was “very scared” when he was located Sunday after a family heard whimpers coming from the structure outside their cabin in the rural area of Troy, Lincoln County, Sheriff Darren Short told TODAY.
“They heard a little boy’s voice from the shed out back where they keep a generator,” Short said. “So they went to the shed and there he was.”
The family called police and when Short arrived, he found the frightened child.
“He was very, very scared,” he told the outlet. “He had the wide-eyed scared look until he got back to his mom and dad.”
The boy spent two nights alone in the wooded area as thunderstorms pounded the area and temperatures dropped into the 40s. Mountain lions and bears are known to roam the area where Ryker was found, Short said.
The youngster told police that he went for a long walk by himself, but got tired, Short said.
Ryker was found unharmed but “hungry, thirsty and cold” after authorities conducted a frantic two-day search involving ground responders, ATV teams, canine teams, drones, helicopters and a boat unit from multiple agencies.
Aerial search teams had to turn back due to “very poor weather conditions which consisted of rain, low visibility, and low ceiling,” according to the sheriff’s office.
Ryker was taken to Cabinet Peaks Medical Center, where he was evaluated and released.
Short said the sheriff’s department is still investigating the incident. His team is probing why the boy’s parents waited two hours to report him missing.
“We’re still looking into why he disappeared, and why he wasn’t being watched closely,” Short said.