Jason McAlister knew after two nights stranded on a logging road that he needed to get his family to safety soon.
“Today was going to be a make or break day,” said McAlister
McAlister and his wife Melissa went on a drive Tuesday morning with two of his four daughters ages 2 years old and 9 months old.
The family was reported missing after his 7- and 8-year-old daughters were brought home from school by the bus Tuesday.
● Parents and two of four kids disappeared Tuesday
● Two other kids were at school and bus stop when parents didn’t arrive
● Found Thursday morning near Matlock Store in Grays Harbor County
● No immediate word on condition
● Deputies not initially sure why they disappeared
● This story will be updated as additional details are available
When no parent came to get them, the driver returned the children to the bus barn and school officials notified the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office.
McAlister said he drove the van on a dirt road weakened by heavy rain. The road gave way and the van was stuck.
He used a coat to build a small shelter for the family when they tried to walk out the first day.
But they were forced to head back to the van Wednesday morning where they spent the night, running the engine for warmth.
“Sat in the van all day yesterday just with the heater and listening to the radio,” McAlister said.
The family was able to hear news reports that searchers were out looking for them, but they had no cellphone to call for help.
Thursday morning they tried walking out again, and this time they were found by two hunters.
“I figured if I could get back out to the main road we’d find some help,” McAlister said. “Halfway down the road hunters were coming up.”
McAlister's parents, Mary and Bob, drove all the way from Montana after hearing the family was missing. They arrived early Thursday to the good news that they were found, and everyone was all right.
"We just want to see them all back together, all six of them,” Mary McAlister said.
Jason McAlister said he was grateful that people cared about him and his family. “I want to thank all the search and rescue people that were out looking for us,” said McAlister.
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