Ryker Webb’s Story: Sheriff Reveals Lawnmower Bag Sleep Mystery

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘Sheriff: missing 3-year-old slept in lawnmower bag | Banfield’ by NewsNation

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Three-year-old Riker Webb found safe after two-day disappearance in Montana.

Key Insights

  • Three-year-old boy, Riker Webb, found alive and in good health after being missing for two days in Montana
  • Riker was last seen playing with his dad in their backyard before disappearing
  • Police initiated a formal search two hours later, involving over 50 people, dog teams, and drones
  • Riker was found 2.4 miles away, reported hungry, thirsty, and cold but otherwise in good health
  • He was accustomed to playing in a trail system behind his house and walked there on his own
  • The delay in locating Riker was due to the initial report being received late and the distance he covered
  • Riker was able to communicate that he went for a long walk, was alone, and very tired
  • Once heavy rain and thunderstorms started, he took cover in a shed behind an old log cabin
  • He used a grass catcher bag from a push lawnmower as a makeshift sleeping bag for warmth
  • Riker was discovered in the shed by a couple who heard a whimper and investigated further
  • When found, Riker was in a state of shock, scared, and unaware of his surroundings or those who found him
  • The Lincoln County Sheriff expressed gratitude for the volunteers involved in the search and rescue operation.

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Transcript

All right, I want to turn now to this really unbelievable story that we found. It’s a story of survival, effectively, but police are still trying to piece a lot of it together. A three-year-old boy found alive and in good health after being missing for two full days in the wilds of Montana.

Little boy’s name is Riker Webb. He was last seen on Friday playing with his dad in their backyard. Dad just scooted inside for a hot minute, but then when he came back, Riker was nowhere to be found. Dad started searching the property, the neighboring properties. The police started a formal search two hours later. Code Red has issued more than 50 people actively searching for Riker, brought in the dog teams, the drones.

The sun set on day one. There’s no sign of that three-year-old. Same story on day two, no Riker. But then they finally spotted him on Sunday, and Riker was 2.4 miles away. He was reportedly hungry and thirsty and cold. Understandably.

But again, alive and in good health. And I am right now joined by the Lincoln County Sheriff, Darren Short, who led the search for Riker. Sheriff, first of all, thank you for being here and thank you for doing the job and finding that little boy. First of all, how’s he doing?

He’s doing fine now. He’s doing fine. Thank you, Ashley.

Glad to hear that. So Sheriff, how did he get 2.4 miles away?

So there’s an extensive trail system behind his house, and he was used to playing in that trail system. So he just walked away from his house and went to the familiar place that he usually played in, is the trail system up toward the mountain.

But if he was just hanging out on the open trails, how did it take two days? I mean, I would think you could find a bunch of people out on those trails. Those little legs won’t take him too far and find him so quickly.

So one of the issues was we got the initial report about 4:53 in the afternoon, and he had been missing for possibly two hours or more at that time. And by the time our search and rescue volunteers and our deputies started searching for him, he was quite a distance away. We started from the house, the point last seen, and started fanning out from there. And by the time we got to where he might have been, he had quite a lead on us. So I sincerely…

Was little Riker, sorry, Sheriff, was little Riker able to articulate, I mean, at three years old, how much can you say, but has he been able to articulate to you guys what he did to stay alive in heavy, heavy rain, cold nights, and out in the wilderness for two days?

So, yes, I spoke with Riker a little bit. I asked him if he’d been on a walk, and he said yes. And I said, was it a long walk? And his voice changes a little bit, and he said yes. And I said, were you alone? Yes. And I said, were you very tired? He said, very tired. And I truly believe that he walked that entire distance Friday afternoon before the thunderstorms hit. And from the time the thunderstorms hit, we had steady rain throughout the weekend. And that’s what kept our air assets to a minimum, other than the drones that we were able to get in, and the Montana Air National Guard who came to assist us on Saturday. But I truly feel that once the rain started to hit and the thunderstorms started to hit, Riker was smart enough, even as a three-year-old, to take cover in that shed. And I truly believe that he took cover in that shed from Friday evening until he was found on Sunday.

So you just said a shed. I didn’t know that part of the story, that he was discovered in a shed?

Yes. He was discovered in a shed behind an old log cabin that’s unoccupied probably 90% of the year. What I found out today…

Was there anything in there, like any supplies, any food, any warmth for this little guy?

No food, no water. One of the miraculous things was there was a grass catcher bag from a push lawnmower, and he used that almost like a sleeping bag.

Wow. And what about, I saw him in the ambulance, it looked like he was wearing, I’m not sure if it was jammies, but he would have been really soaking wet and very cold. Was there anything he could find to give him some warmth?

So I think that when the thunderstorms started to roll in, Riker was close to the cabin and the shed. We found handprints on the front windows of the cabin, like he had looked in the windows to see if anybody was there. And I truly believe that he found the shed for shelter as the thunderstorm was rolling in. So he really wasn’t wet at least two days later when we found him. And I think that he beat the thunderstorm to that shed. And I think he took shelter there through the entire time that it rained through the weekend.

Sheriff, so often I’ve covered these stories, and when it comes to little, little ones like Riker, who’s only three, many times searchers will say they remain in hiding, even when those who are coming to find them and rescue them are right upon them. They can hear the rescuers and they’re so afraid they stay in hiding. Is that what happened with Riker?

I truly think so. I truly think so. The couple that found him had been around their cabin for some time and they heard a slight whimper. They didn’t hear him call out. He didn’t ask for help. They heard a slight whimper and then investigated the shed a little more and found little Riker tucked into that lawn catcher bag, that grass catcher bag.

So the picture that we’re seeing on the screen has him, you know, beforehand and then in the ambulance, I think, and he looks like he’s in pretty good spirits having just gone through this horrendous ordeal. Do you know if when they found him he was crying or was he full of joy when he was discovered? Like, what was his mood when they found him?

So what I understand, and I arrived, I was the first one there after the rescuers found him. And he was basically, I felt in a state of shock. He was still a little bit scared. He didn’t know who we were. He didn’t know who the people who found him were. And I truly think that he was frightened and he had been out there for two days all by himself, hearing the rain, hearing the wind, hearing everything that was going on around him, not knowing if he was going to get home. And I truly think he was basically in a state of shock and a little bit afraid.

I’ll bet his mom and dad are hugging him so close tonight. Sheriff, thank you for finding him. Thank your men and women who went through all that trouble to bring that little guy home to his parents. And thanks for being on tonight too.

Thank you very much. There was a tremendous group of volunteers and I truly want to thank them.

Well, we’ll send that out as well. And thanks again for this wonderful resolution to a terrifying story. You know, all moms out there like me, you can’t go 20 seconds without knowing where your little guy is. So to know that it was two days, thanks again. And hopefully we’ll see you under better circumstances. At least this is a good resolution though. This is a good resolution. Thank you, Ashley. Thank you for watching. Go to NewsNationNow.com to find NewsNation on your television provider. And don’t forget to click the red subscribe button below to get more of NewsNation’s fact-driven, unbiased coverage.

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘Sheriff: missing 3-year-old slept in lawnmower bag | Banfield’ by NewsNation