• 7-year-old missing for nearly 24 hours in North Cascades National Park found safe

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff , Deborah Horne

    Updated:

    A happy ending to the search for a 7-year-old girl missing overnight in the North Cascades National Park, as she has been found alive and safe.

    Gwynn Dilstrom was found alive Sunday evening after more than 100 search and rescue volunteers searched for the girl over the last 24 hours.

    Just after 5 p.m., Dilstrom was found about a half-mile from where she was last seen.

    "I am much happier," said, Denise Shultz, a spokeswoman for the North Cascades National Park Complex. "It's very exciting news. And we're all very thrilled she was able to come home safe."

    The young girl was camping with her family at the Goodell Creek campground this Memorial Day weekend in the Ross Lake Recreation area. A family member last spotted her at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday. They searched for Dilstrom, but when they couldn't find her, the Rangers joined in on the search efforts. 

    By daybreak more than 120 search and rescue volunteers from all three nearby counties, five search dogs, a drone, a Navy helicopter, even members of the Army and Air Force were looking for her.  

    The family was camping in the Ross Lake Recreation Area for the holiday weekend, and Dilstrom was just playing where the family was staying.

    The area where the search happened has a pretty distinct boundary on one side, KIRO 7 was told. 
    Highway 20 is located on one side and a ridgeline is on the other side, Denise Shultz, with North Cascades National Park, said.

    Although no one hadn't seen the girl, Shultz said they are still hopeful.

    Late Sunday, the searchers heard her calling out in the woods. They found her about a half-mile from where she was last seen, in the thick, steep terrain.

    "Yes, (a) very happy family," said Shultz. "We're all very happy.  All the searchers are happy. This is the outcome we all hope for when we do this. This is the payoff."

    Shultz hasn't seen the little girl yet, so she doesn't know whether she suffered any injuries, considering being in the park overnight. She said the girl apparently hunkered down in one place since she wasn't far from her original sighting.

    Dilstrom has now been reunited with her family. Presumably now, everyone can sleep more easily after the successful search and rescue. 


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