Missing boys found: Missing Boys In Kentucky

Published: October 10, 2015

Missing boys found: Missing Boys In Kentucky, They told tales of huge boulders, rock shelters and getting stuck – three times – in the same creek bed.

They didn’t have a flashlight or food.

They slept next to each other, curled up under a tree.

Adrian Ross, 7, of Bloomington, Ind., and Michael Esposito, 5, of Batavia, Ohio, were found safe Friday afternoon, about a half mile from the Red River Gorge campsite where they were reported missing about 6 p.m. Thursday night.

The cousins were a little cold, a little scared and really hungry, said Kelly Moore, with the U.S. Forest Service. So, he gave them Oreos, beef jerky and orange Gatorade.

“They were just on a big adventure,” Moore said. “They were all smiles. They knew where they were; they just lost their direction, which is very easy to do in these woods.”

Adrian and Michael were missing for nearly 20 hours after they wandered away from the Koomer Ridge campground in eastern Kentucky, a heavily wooded, rocky destination popular with hikers and rock climbers.

Rescuers used dogs, helicopters with infrared and then canvassed the area on foot.

Moore was part of a search team called in Friday morning. He had been looking for a few hours when he heard a timid squeak after he called out for Adrian and Michael.

He called out again, he said, and he got another tiny squeak in return.

He used the safe word he got from one of the boy’s moms – a security protocol against stranger danger – and that did the trick.

Moore was searching in the direction dogs had gone overnight before losing the scent, he said, and “we ended up getting lucky.”

“It was really awesome for us,” he said. “It was a big relief.”

Julia Esposito, Michael’s mom, was having dinner with a friend when she got a call the boys were missing. She didn’t think much of it at first – in fact, she didn’t even leave right away for the campsite, she said – because she thought for sure they’d be found in a few minutes.

But then, they weren’t.

And then, they still weren’t.

It was terrifying, but Julia believed the entire time they would be found, she said. The family has two acres of woods at home, so Michael is comfortable in that environment, she said. And, she knew the cousins were together.

“I prayed all night long,” she said. “I just kept praying to find them before the rain, and about 30 minutes before the rain, that’s when they were found. So it’s just like God was with them the whole time.”

The boys were missing from about 6 p.m. Thursday until roughly 2 p.m. Friday.

One was wearing jeans and the other shorts. Both had on short-sleeved shirts.

They were found just a few minutes before a heavy thunderstorm.

“Had we found them soaking wet, it would have been a completely different scenario,” Moore said.

Adrian and Michael likely won’t go to a hospital. In fact, they might even finish the camping trip, Julia said, which was initially scheduled as a family reunion.

“I don’t think there’s any trauma for them,” she said. ” Unfortunately, I think they’ll want to do it again.”

Have you seen these boys? Rescue teams are searching for the missing cousins, ages 5 and 7, in the Red River Gorge. pic.twitter.com/zRufMf0s9S

— Mark Barber (@MarkBarberWKYT) October 9, 2015


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