Boy Found After Night Alone in Ariz. Wilderness

In central Arizona, one family of a missing boy is smiling and breathing a huge sigh of relief.

After 18 hours alone in rough Arizona terrain, 4-year-old Travis Mitchell was found alive and seemingly well.

Travis, described as an "overly cautious" young boy, wandered off at about 5 p.m. Sunday after playing with his older brother in a tree house behind their home.

Travis' grandfather, Don Mitchell, told reporters, "He's four years old. He spent all night in the dark by himself, walked all over the place at least three miles."

Hundreds of officials and volunteers searched nearby dirt roads and trails until finally, at just after 11:00 a.m. Monday, volunteers on horseback found him at the bottom of a canyon.

Wyman Kendall, the volunteer searcher who found Travis, said, "He was in good spirits, he had about a half a pound of mud on him."

Rescuers called his name over and over again, and finally Travis responded by asking how they knew his name.

Ginger Mitchell, Travis' mom, said, "My legs went to Jello, I just had to sit back down and I was like, 'Thank God!' It was the best moment."

While recovering from his ordeal in a nearby hospital, family members said Travis couldn't stop talking about, not only his first horseback ride, but his first trip on a helicopter, as well.

And on "The Early Show" Tuesday, from Phoenix Children's Hospital, Travis, his mom, Ginger, and Kendall shared their story.

Ginger said when her son was found, "It was awesome."

She said, "I was standing up and I fell right back in the spot I was sitting down in when they told me."

Initially, Ginger said, she thought her son had fallen asleep somewhere in the house.

"He's fallen asleep ... inside the house before, so the first thing I did was check underneath the TV, because that's where he likes to hide and fall asleep. But given it was a friend's house, I checked all the, you know, the dryer, all the little nooks and crannies. And when I didn't hear him out in the back yard or in the front yard, I panicked immediately and called 911. ... The kids were all playing, probably, I don't know, less than 200 feet from the house. And it just -- he got turned around, somehow."

Kendall said he couldn't believe he found the boy in such wilderness.

"The search was kind of like a needle in a haystack, with the amount of country that was open and available to him," Kendall said. "But I just kind of -- just became overjoyed. I couldn't believe I heard a little voice call back to me."

"Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill told Travis, "Good luck, be careful next time out there, okay, Bud?"

His mother offered: "No more next times!"
  • CBSNews

Comments