Woman on horseback helps find missing toddler in woods


Tammy Stevens and her horse and dogs rescued a 2-year-old who got lost in the Molalla River Recreation Area on Nov. 7, 2019. (CCSO)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A toddler who wandered off during a walk with her grandma in the Molalla River Recreation Area was found quickly thanks to the help of bystanders.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said 2-year-old Iris ran ahead on a trail and her grandma, Gayla Ann Jay, reached a 4-way forked and didn’t know which way the little girl went.

She searched for about 15 minutes before going to find help. She flagged down several logging crews and the Clackamas County Search and Rescue team gathered other resources to help.

Tammy Stevens was riding her horse, Bo, nearby and also joined the search along with her miniature Australian Shepherds, Wilson and Maddie.

“I really just followed instinct and thought ‘where would this person be?’” Stevens said.

She rode around in a steep and dangerous area for about 20 minutes before she heard Iris crying.

The sheriff’s office said Stevens told Wilson to “go get her” and he led the way.

“I climbed up, super steep — about 70 feet and there she was,” Stevens said. “She was pretty upset.”

A logger named Dave, who was also searching nearby, met up with Stevens, then carried Iris to the search teams.

“It’s a really good story, I was so thankful,” Stevens said.

Stevens said Wilson is not trained for search and rescue but “he’s just a good boy and he loves to hunt.”

Officials said Iris was on Looney’s Trail about half a mile from Hardy Creek.

The sheriff’s office said they don’t usually want to encourage untrained people to help with search operations but they appreciate the help of people who were nearby and familiar with the terrain.


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