Father and son find missing teen after spotting 'Help' signal scratched in the dirt

Elise Solé

A father and son helped rescue a missing teen after spotting the word “Help” she had scratched on a dirt road in the woods.

On Friday, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office in Idaho alerted Facebook to the disappearance of 19-year-old Kathryn “Katie” Ogle, described as a petite woman with “the cognitive ability of an approximate 10-12-year-old” who may not have been wearing shoes. Ogle was last seen the day before, walking toward a wooded area in the town of Hayden.

That’s also where Chris Trumbich and his 15-year-old stepson Ryle Gordon go deer hunting near their family cabin. On Saturday, after driving 4 miles up a path and passing a search party for Ogle, they spotted the word “HELP” drawn in the gravel, according to local news station KHQ-TV. “We left the house thinking, ‘Hey, we’re going to hopefully see some deer,'” Gordon told the news station.


Trumbich told KHQ-TV that he first believed the message was left by a hunter who needed assistance carrying a dead deer. But his stepson said the message “felt creepy” and took a photo. They decided to show the picture to the search party — who were packing up for the night — and led them back to the clue.

“He [rescue worker] turns around and yells, ‘Hello?’ Then, we heard a ‘Hello’ over the ridge,” Trumbich told KHQ-TV. At the bottom of a steep hill, the search party found Ogle with her sleeping bag, and she identified herself as “Katie.”

A representative of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Ogle has been returned to her family but would not comment further due to privacy laws that protect medical records. In a statement to ABC News, the police said of Ogle, “She appears to be in relatively good condition and is being cared for by medical personnel on scene.” 

Trumbich and Gordon did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. “She looked very scared when she came out, like she was scared she was going to get in trouble, like we were going to yell at her for being in the cabin,” Gordon told KHQ-TV. “Katie, if you’re watching this, we’re just happy you’re alive.”

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