State News

Volunteers Press Search for Boy Scout Missing in Wilkes County

Posted March 17, 2007
Updated March 18, 2007

— Searchers from local, state and federal agencies combed woods and trails near the Blue Ridge Parkway on Sunday for a 12-year-old Boy Scout who apparently wandered away from his troop's campsite Saturday afternoon.

David Bauer of the Blue Ridge Parkway administration said personnel from Wilkes, Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga counties, the Parkway and a Highway Patrol helicopter were involved in the search.

The missing Scout was identified as Michael Auberry of Troop 230 in Greensboro.

The troop had begun the campout Friday evening, hiking about 1.5 miles down a logging road from a parking area on federal land, Bauer said. On Saturday, Auberry was part of a group of Scouts who remained in camp while another group went hiking, he said. The entire troop had eaten lunch together, and Auberry as reported missing about 3 p.m.


Searchers late Saturday found part of Auberry's mess kit less than a mile from the camp, he said.

"At this point we're looking at every possibility," Bauer said. "The most probable thing is that he walked away, went out in the woods and went to investigate."

He said he's not aware of Auberry having any arguments or problems with the troop or his family.

A command post had been established about six miles from the community of McGrady, Bauer said.

Debbie Hayes, Michael's mother, said her boy was wearing a red heavy outercoat, an inner fleece coat, had gloves and a hat in a pocket, and was wearing a dark blue Tar Heels baseball cap.

Michael's 5 feet, 4 inches tall, weighs 110 pounds, has curly brown hair and wears wire-frame glasses, she said.

Bauer said searchers were moving off the trail and into rugged terrain Sunday afternoon, which will continue until dark because of the danger involved in searching the area at night.

Auberry was wearing pants, a shirt and a coat. The Sunday afternoon temperature at Mount Airy, about 25 miles northeast of Traphill in northwest North Carolina, was in the low 40s, the National Weather Service said.

The camping area is near the Alleghany-Wilkes county line, authorities said.


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  • anastasia Mar 19, 2007

    I too am wondering why he remained alone in camp with an adult while the others went out hiking. It sounds awfully strange, especially with all we hear about 'priests, teachers, scout leaders, coaches, etc.'

  • smitty Mar 18, 2007

    If they brought out the NC National Guard Apaches, they could find this kid on FLIR in a couple hours. I guess he's not a priority since they sent out the Vietnam relic chopper. Your tax dollars at work.

  • goheels Mar 18, 2007

    Best wishes for a safe return......good luck to all the dedicated searchers out there!!

  • vitameatavegamin Mar 18, 2007

    the whole point of 'two deep' leadership is in case the troop has to split up...these are BOY scouts not CUB scouts...judging this through the 'girl scout' filter isn't a valid approach. Boy Scout leaders don't hover and baby the scouts the way Girl Scout leaders do. The kid made a mistake and left alone...they teach the kids to use the buddy system, but kids don't always do what they're supposed to do.

  • rainy39 Mar 18, 2007

    Also if you read the "rest of the story" posted on another story here on WRAL here is how it reads!!

    The troop had gone on a hike earlier Saturday, and the boy and an adult stayed behind, said David Bauer, a ranger with the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was not immediately clear why they stayed behind.

  • Tired Of Excuses Mar 18, 2007

    As a former girl scout this doesn't sound very good. I think there's more to this story than what is being presented. I hope this child is found soon and unharmed.

  • Familymatters Mar 18, 2007

    For those that missed this bit
    "Auberry was part of a group of Scouts who remained in camp while another group went hiking"

    Hes a scout, provided hes not seriously injured he will be found alive hopefully.

    Pray for him, as well as those searching.

  • scoutmom Mar 18, 2007

    I hope he is found safe. As a scout parent and leader, this is the worst nightmare for an adult. But I am also concerned with the reports that he was alone in camp with another leader - what about two deep leadership?? A leader is NEVER to be alone one-on-one with a boy unless it is their son... Hopefully all will turn out well.

  • BLA BLA BLA Mar 18, 2007

    headlong posted: "Why were they having a campout on a weekend like this??? So cold and chilly...I am sure worse up there in the mountains."

    Because boy scouting is an outdoor adventure. They are being prepared for whatever the weather throws at them and are trained to deal with situations like this. But boys will be boys and go off on their own adventure and then situations like this occur. They are told that when they get lost, to stay put, build a shelter and start a signal fire. If they try to find their way back, they may wind up further away from the campsite than they wouldve been if they stayed.

  • headlong Mar 18, 2007

    Prayers and Thoughts to Family and Friends in hopes they find him safely.

    I lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains and some of those areas are really bad even driving around them no less climbing.

    Why were they having a campout on a weekend like this??? So cold and chilly...I am sure worse up there in the mountains.