Two-year-old boy wandered off

December 5, 1981

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By John Dew

A good day for getting things done around the house. At least I did in the morning. At about 1:00 p.m. the pager went off. 'All RMRU members call Al Andrews for a search in Anza. 'After checking in with Al, son Roy and I loaded the car and headed up the mountain to Anza. We met at the CDF station in Anza, and then caravanned out to a mobile home where young two year old Ryan Tate had wandered off earlier in the day. Also responding with RMRU was the Hemet team, the Sheriff's fixed wing aircraft, the Sheriff's Posse and the Naval Rescue Group.

First thing operations leader Walt Walker did was to have Kevin Walker and I start looking for tracks heading away from the home. We loaded up light packs and headed out. As more members arrived, Walt assigned them to try and cut a perimeter for tracks on the other side of the mobile home. Kevin and I swept around and found nothing but foot prints from what was no doubt concerned friends and relatives. just as we reached the road that we had driven in on, Bernie McIlvoy reported finding tracks fitting the description about one mile from the mobile home. Walt drove over to Bernie's location and agreed that these were probably the right ones. Walt came back and moved Kevin and I over to Bernie's location. We had enough members there for three teams, so Kevin and I started down a sandy wash, Bernie and his brother Dave continued over to another wash. Bernie and Dave went down the wash, and the third team of Joe Erickson and Hemet member Greg Lewis went up the wash. The reason for splitting up was because the prints that Bernie had found, went up onto a humped ridge where the ground was so hard that we were leaving little if any signs ourselves.

As Kevin and I continued down, we could hear coyotes in the distance, and another fear for the child was the fact that the light of day was fading fast and it would soon be getting very cold. just as the sun was dipping behind the mountains, Bernie came on the radio, 'Base, we have found Ryan. He is in good shape'. We gave a shout to Bernie, and by his reply we were close, so Kevin and I climbed out of the small wash and headed towards the voices. Upon reaching them we found young Ryan hanging on to Dave for dear life. After getting a jacket around Ryan, we headed back the mile and a half to the dirt road, and then a quick ride back to his waiting parents. Because of Bernie and Dave's sharp ears, they were able to here Ryan weeping in the brush above them. Just goes to show what a little positive crying can do.