On Sunday, October 4th, the Grand Junction UADF team members were alerted to a possible action involving a lost child. Reports indicated that a 3 year old girl had been reported missing the day before and search efforts were underway. Sean engaged the UADF team via signal and members began responding. Sean instituted a Muster point at a local grocery store near the home of the lost girl and members were asked to respond. Within 30 minutes of initial contact several UADF members were mustered at the grocery store location.
After a quick coordination at the muster point, radio comms were set and teams began to disperse in the area. Teams deployed initially in vehicles to cover the most ground. Five teams began to search areas from the incident point out. Teams roamed the area staying in close contact for the next hour. As the teams were searching, other community members could be seen joining the search.
After searching for about an hour, the UADF team was contacted by a local patriot group to help coordinate additional volunteer response. The UADF team set up a muster point for this patriot group to facilitate the most effective response. UADF leadership had several concerns in this effort. The first concern was the safety and security of local patriot volunteers. The second concern was to create the most effective response. As patriots arrived it became clear that although very well intentioned and eager to assist, many of the local patriots that responded would lack the capability to walk long distances and many did not even have water with them. UADF leadership task at this point was to effectively deploy teams via foot and vehicle based upon readiness and ability. There were 4 teams deployed to 4 separate grids. All teams were paired with at least two people and the muster point collapsed. UADF stayed on comms via signal to manage all teams and engaged several Patriot members with radio comms.
While UADF City Leadership was engaging local patriot resources, CO 3 leader Sean was making contact with local on-scene law enforcement. He was able to learn that the search was ongoing and assistance was welcomed. The suspicion was that the child had fallen into an irrigation canal, but they had not confirmed that and all search efforts were still underway. Sean was also able to make contact with the family.
UADF covered the area within a 1 mile radius of the incident several times over the next few hours. Law enforcement was asking that search teams not engage private property or knock on doors. When UADF was informed that local authorities were beginning to drain the irrigation canals, the decision was made to call off UADF search efforts. UADF teams disengaged and handed off coordination of the local patriot response to one of the local patriot leaders.
Within 90 minutes we were informed via signal and social media that after the canal was drained one of the helicopter search teams alerted ground teams to investigate an area about a mile downstream from the incident area. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the recovery location of the child. This was the worst possible outcome.
Although the outcome was tragic, UADF appreciates the response of Grand Junction team members as well as local patriot and community members. The ability to quickly provide a response team and assist in coordination was a good example of what we can do as we build skill and capabilities in our teams.