BONNERS FERRY — On the evening of June 10, a 14-year old autistic child went missing from her house in Bonners Ferry.
Bonners Ferry Police Sergeant Willie Cowell requested aid from Boundary County Search and Dive Rescue, which responded to help find the child. She was eventually located on the train tracks near Mirror Lake Golf Course.
According to the police report, the child is very autistic and regularly goes missing despite home locking mechanisms designed to keep her contained to her home and property. She is drawn to water and train tracks, both of which could put her in danger. Cowell, with the help of 911 Dispatcher Linda Ekstrom, called for reinforcements, bringing in search and rescue and the Bonners Ferry Fire Department.
“When you think of search and rescue, one generally does not think to utilize them in a city setting; however, they are invaluable,” wrote Cowell in his report.
Ekstrom, in dispatch, called for the trains to stop in case the child was following tracks.
“Linda was phenomenal in coordinating search efforts, stopping BNSF trains …” wrote Cowell.
The child was located on the tracks after a short amount of time, and returned to her home safely.
According to Bonners Ferry Police Chief Brian Zimmerman, the situation highlighted the teamwork of multiple agencies.
“Kudos to Sergeant Cowell, search and rescue, city fire, dispatch, and Linda for a job well done,” said Zimmerman. “A life was saved as a result of everyone’s efforts.”