SAR Locates Missing Mother, Children
Update 6/5/19 at 10:50 a.m.:
Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) search and rescue (SAR) officials are releasing additional details about the family missing Tuesday night in the forest southeast of Ruch.
According to JCSO Sergeant Shawn Richards, Cameron Cutler and her three children left home on the morning of June 4, 2019, to go hiking in the Tunnel Ridge Trail area. Cutler used Apple Maps to navigate to the destination from Talent. The suggested route included unpaved and unmaintained forest roads in the Anderson Creek area.
After driving several miles, Cutler decided to go back. The vehicle became wedged between a tree and a ditch when she tried to turn around at a spur road (GPS coordinates for the location are as follows: 42.154328, -122.839782). There is no cell phone coverage in the area, so Cutler was unable to call for help. Cutler spent the rest of the day entertaining her children with short walks in the area, but stayed near the vehicle to await rescuers.
Cutler's husband called for help at 6:12 p.m. Deputies and SAR personnel responded to assist. Approximately 150 citizen volunteers arrived in the area to help with the search.
A team of SAR volunteers located the family and their vehicle at approximately 12:55 a.m. on Wednesday, June 5. They transported the Cutlers to the SAR command post in Ruch to reunite with family and friends. Nobody was injured.
Sergeant Richards says Cutler did some things right: she was prepared with clothing, food, and water; she kept everyone in one location instead of wandering off; she worked to keep her children in good spirits.
But, he says there are lessons to be learned from this incident. Sergeant Richards reminds people of the following safety tips for travelers:
- Stick to familiar routes
- Let someone know where you're going and the route you will take
- Don't rely on electronic navigation devices or apps; carry paper maps
- Ensure you carry enough food and water for 48 hours
- Carry warm clothing and blankets in your vehicle
Update 6/5/19: As of 1:00 am Wednesday, June 5, 2019, all four were located safe. Thank you to everyone who helped with the search and shared information.
Original release, 6/4/19:
JACKSONVILLE, Ore. - Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) search and rescue (SAR) personnel are searching for a Medford woman and her three children. The four were reported missing Tuesday evening after not returning home from a planned hike.
On June 4, 2019, at 6:12 p.m., dispatch received a call from the woman's husband. Cameron Cutler, 35, and three of her children - 5-year-old twins (boy and girl), and a 4-year-old boy, reportedly left home that morning to go hiking on the Tunnel Ridge Trail. They had not returned home.
Cutler was reportedly driving a silver Honda Odyssey minivan with Oregon license plate 752 JUY. The vehicle has not yet been located.
SAR teams are checking trailheads in the Applegate and Ruch areas where the family may have been hiking. Dozens of citizens also turned out to assist.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Cameron Cutler and her children is asked to call dispatch at (541) 776-7206. Refer to case #19-11153.