Missing Scout Meets The Press

Brennan Hawkins press conference family CBS

Brennan Hawkins made his first public appearance Wednesday, saying he felt "good" after spending four days in the mountains alone before being rescued.

Wearing a zippered, red and black pullover, 11-year-old Brennan appeared at an afternoon news conference with his parents and four siblings.

Toby Hawkins, Brennan's father, said his son stayed alive because he has an "incomparable spirit." But he also described Brennan as a typical boy, who has trouble understanding the media attention his case is receiving.

At the press conference in front of the Hawkins' Utah home, Brennan's father said his son is still working through "issues."

"I don't think he's really ready to tell us [what happened during his four days in the wilderness]," Toby Hawkins said.

Brennan shook his sandy blonde head no, and gave a slight smile to the cameras.

Brennan was found Tuesday by a 43-year-old house painter on an ATV who was out looking on his own, miles outside of active search grids.

Brennan left Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City not long after midnight, said Bonnie Midget, a hospital spokeswoman. Doctors had said they wanted to keep him at least overnight for tests, said Dr. Ed Clark, the hospital's medical director.

"Brennan continues to amaze us," his father said at a news conference outside their home. "You know, his ability to deal with this initially, I made the comment that I thought that he was the most ill-prepared out of our five children to deal with it, and now I think he was maybe the best prepared."

Brennan answered only the one question, before he crouched on the ground by his mother's knees while Toby and Jody Hawkins answered questions during a news conference at their suburban Salt Lake City home.

Later, he showed how he slept in the mountains during his four-day ordeal, with his knees pulled up and shirt pulled down over them.

Brennan, described by his parents as a spirited child who loves collecting Pokemon cards, apparently eluded thousands of searchers by defying conventional wisdom: He went up instead of down.

His parents said always been told two things: stay close to the trail, and keep away from strangers. They said Brennan focused on those two things during the four days and nights he was missing.

His mother added that the boy's personality "hasn't changed one bit" -- and that he was making jokes and asking about his Pokeman cards soon after he was found.

Toby and Jody Hawkins also described what they were doing when word came that he'd been found.

His mother said she was told only that a sheriff's car was headed to where she was, to pick her up. She said she was certain by then that he was no longer alive -- and that she collapsed before she could get into the car.

She told reporters, "I knew they were going to tell me he was no longer with us."

When she learned that he was alive and OK, she said it was something she couldn't comprehend.

The boy's father said he didn't know what was going on when a rescuer told him a vehicle was coming for him. He says the rescuer then told him, "If everything I'm hearing on the radio is accurate, they have found him." He asked, "Is he alive?" He was then told the boy was alive, and in "reasonably good condition."

They said their son isn't giving many other details of the past four days -- but they say that's typical of him, and that he doesn't generally talk about his experiences.

What is known is that Brennan had hiked some 600 feet higher and more than five miles into the mountains to the spot where searcher Forrest Nunley found him before noon Tuesday.

  • Scott Benjamin

Comments