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Missing Family Found Alive At Sleeping Bear Dunes

Posted at 10:44 PM, Aug 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-27 06:32:06-04

PETOSKY, Mich. — A happy ending Monday for search crews and investigators after a Michigan family was found safe near Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Investigators say a father and his three kids were missing for more than twelve hours. Finally, around 7 p.m., the children, ages 14, 10 and 9, were found near Dune Valley Road.

“They (search crews) called out to them,” said Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich. “They didn’t make any attempt to flee, elude, no resisting, no obstructing. They were tired, they were hot, and they were hungry.”

It all started Sunday morning. The man’s wife made a domestic call in Emmet Township and deputies were instructed to be on the lookout for the father’s car, Borkovich said.

A park ranger found the car early Monday morning near Sleeping Bear Dunes Coast Guard Maritime Heritage Museum.  Sheriff Borkovich believes the kids were likely out in the forest all night. “That’s full of lots of swamps and ridges and sand dunes,” he said. “It’s hard to say how far they were, but as the crow flies, approximately a mile from the car.”

The children told investigators they just thought they were camping.  “I would call it a “rogue camping” event,” said Borkovich. “If you take off in 90 degree heat without plans, water, food, you’re gone during a rain storm without a tent.  They were very, very thirsty and very, very hungry. There’s a good possibility they haven’t eaten since (Sunday).”

The father is in custody on a minor domestic charge, and Borkovich says he doesn’t believe the father kidnapped the kids. “It turned out to be a rogue camping event rather than a kidnapping.”

The father is from Oakland County but was officials say he was visiting family in Emmet County.