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Six family members who disappeared more than two weeks ago after setting out on an overnight trip were found Tuesday (March 21) in a mountainous area of southwestern Oregon, surviving in their snowbound recreational vehicle on dehydrated food and other provisions.
The Associated Press reported that the two parents were found first Tuesday after they had left their stranded RV on Monday to seek help. Rescuers then located the RV and the four others, including two children.
All six — Pete Stivers, 29, and Marlo Hill-Stivers, 31; their children Sabastyan, 9, and Gabrayell, 8; and Stiver’s mother and stepfather, Elbert and Becky Higginbotham — were reunited today in Glendale, Ore., about 80 miles north of the California border.
The family’s trouble began when they became lost on their way home and got stuck in the mountains in up to 4 feet of snow at about 3,800 feet.
After the family was reported missing, rescue teams from Oregon and California scoured the two closest routes from Ashland to the coast. But police didn’t know exactly where they had been heading, and they eventually called off the search when there were no leads.
The two children passed the evenings by reading jokes from the Reader’s Digest to the adults, Higginbotham said. The family lived through the ordeal on dehydrated food and other provisions. The area is too remote for cell phone service.
Stivers and his wife decided Monday morning to go seek help, his stepfather said, leaving with a tent, wool blankets, tuna fish and honey and two hand-warmers.
On Tuesday morning, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management worker found the couple.
Later, rescue workers in a helicopter made contact with the other four, said Sgt. David Marshall, spokesman for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department. Snow machines were sent to pick them up.
“They were in pretty good shape for being out there as long as they had been,” said Chief Rick Mendenhall.