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    Search for 10-year-old ends tragically


    Associated Press

    LINCOLN, N.H. - A five-day search aided by hundreds of volunteers ended tragically yesterday afternoon when a 10-year-old Massachusetts boy was found dead in the forest, likely a victim of exposure.

    Patric McCarthy was last seen Monday afternoon playing with his stepbrothers about 300 yards from his family's condominium at the edge of the White Mountain National Forest. The family had celebrated his birthday the day before and was packing to head home to Bourne, Mass.

    Patric's father, Steve McCarthy, wept as he thanked the hundreds of professional and volunteer searchers who searched for five days.

    "All the people who were once strangers now are part of our family: We thank you. We love you and remember Patric," he said.

    Patric had challenged his stepbrothers to a race back to the condo, but he never arrived. Authorities believe he tried a shortcut and made a wrong turn into the dense forest.

    His body was found face down about 2 <1/4> miles away, in difficult terrain about 1,400 feet higher than where he was last seen. The area had been searched several times, said Fish and Game Col. Jeff Gray.

    "Basically (the searchers) had to be right on top of him to locate him in the vegetation," Gray said.

    Gray said Patric apparently died of exposure and said the state medical examiner would determine how long he had been dead. He said there was no sign of foul play or of a fall.

    "I never dreamed that this would be the outcome," said Kristi Divine of Newbury, Mass., a volunteer searcher. "I thought we would find him alive. ... I thought he was miserable out there and hurt, but I thought we could find him."

    Searchers had been looking night and day for the boy. The search contingent swelled to 500 or more at times and used helicopters, dogs, night-vision equipment and even kayaks on the Pemigewasett River.

    Police consistently said they did not suspect foul play, and Senior Assistant General Will Delker, whose office investigates all homicides, said prosecutors were not involved.

    Monday was warm, but the area received drenching rain Tuesday and strong winds Wednesday. Temperatures dipped into the 40s and 30s at night.

    Search officials and experienced mountaineers warned earlier that Patric could die of exposure. Climbing guide and experienced rescuer Steve Dupuis said Thursday that if he was out in the elements, "his chances of succumbing to exposure are pretty good because it's just impossible to keep warm without the right stuff."

    Dupuis is a guide with the International Mountain Climbing School in North Conway.

    The condo is in a large development across the Kancamagus Highway from the Loon Mountain ski area. Many were puzzled that anyone could get lost there, but Dupuis said once someone was in the woods, it would be easy to get disoriented and not know the way out.

    "If you get 100 yards off the Kanc, you can't hear a car going 50 miles an hour," said John Knieriem, who leads a ski patrol rescue team at Mount Washington, the tallest mountain in the Northeast.

    Knieriem said he was surprised at how far Patric was found from his starting point.

    "You can't understand what goes through the mind of a child when something like this happens."

    Patric's uncle, who has done a lot of hiking with his own children and taught them what to do if they get lost in the woods, said in an interview before Patric was found that the boy didn't have such training.

    "He's scared to death of the dark," added Wayne Rutledge 45, of Wareham, Mass.

    "When you don't know where you are and it's dark and you start thinking of mountain lions and other wild animals, what must go through a 10-year-old's mind," he said. "Your mind is your worst enemy. It takes a lot of self control.

    Rutledge said Patric had a security blanket for years, and wouldn't even venture far from his grandparents' home, where he spent a lot of time. The blanket was brought up early in the week to help search dogs get a scent, he said.

    Patric's father, Steve, and stepmother, Margaret, spent the agonizing hours at the condo, occasionally talking to reporters. His mother, Dee Murray, followed the news from Bourne.

    "We're going to find my son today," she said yesterday morning in a tearful appearance on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America."

    Steve and Margaret McCarthy, married about three years, own the Gray Gables Country Market in Bourne, at the foot of Cape Cod, and are well-known in town. He bought the market after selling a string of Cape Cod Dunkin' Donuts shops.

    New Hampshire first lady Denise Benson was among the hundreds of volunteers at the scene yesterday morning. In addition to searching, volunteers cooked and served food donated by the community.

    The state Fish and Game Department, which runs searches in the state, said the investigation would continue to determine the cause of death.

    "Our hearts go out to Patric's family and his community," Gray said.

    "Never before has the state had this many searchers looking for a lost child," he said.
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

  • #2
    How very tragic Sleep with angels, Patric.
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Honorary Flatlander



    • #3
      one thing bothers me tho. His biological mother never even left the cape to help find her son. His father and step-mother did all the searching
      No longer an explorer-
      Currently Keene State College Class of 2008
      I shed blood for my ruggers.
      <forever ruggers, forever sisters>

      All gave some, some gave all. Gone but not forgotten. 9/11/01


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