2 missing girls found safe, used 4-H wilderness skills to survive


Two sisters — Caroline Carrico, age 5, and Leia Carrico, age 8 —  from Humboldt County, California, went missing on Friday afternoon around 2:30 p.m. After a 44-hour search and rescue effort, the girls were found unharmed and in good spirits according to local authorities who said it was their 4-H wilderness skills that helped them survive. 

According to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office,”On March 3, 2019, around 10:30 a.m., searchers Delbert Chumley and Abram Hill from the Piercy Volunteer Fire Department located the two girls approximately 1.4 miles away from their home in Benbow.” 

“Chumley and Hill located boot prints believed to belong to the girls around 8:30 a.m. today, March 3. Those tracks led the team southeast to an area near Richardson Grove State Park. Caroline and Leia responded when crew members called out to them. The girls were located huddled together under a bush. The sisters were evaluated by medical personnel for dehydration and given water and warm, dry clothing. They were reunited with family shortly after being located. The girls told first responders that they were following a deer trail when they had become lost. The two decided to stay put, drinking fresh water from Huckleberry leaves.” 

County Sheriff William Honsal described their discovery close to Richardson Grove State Park about 10:30 a.m. local time Sunday as “a miracle.” Honsal said in a press conference, “This was rugged territory, this is an extreme environment and how they were out there for 44 hours is pretty amazing but it shows a resilience of people that actually grew up in this community. These girls definitely have a survival story to tell.”

When asked if the two girls had some sort of training to survive Honsal responded, “The information we gathered is that they were trained, through 4-H, for outdoor survival and we believe that that did play a part, but we’re only speculating right now.”

For over 100 years, 4-H has played a vital role in the development of kids all across the country. The organization strives to teach kids how to be prepared for the world around them in a fun learning environment, and it may have just saved these two girls. They did exactly what they what their 4-H wilderness skills told them to do — stay put, find shelter, and survive. 

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