Lost and Found with a happy ending

Search and Rescue efforts make one family’s Thanksgiving extra special

By Tim Huether

It can be a parent’s worse nightmare...their child is missing in the middle of rugged terrain, miles from the nearest town. After a frantic early search for 13-year-old Dante` Rascher came up empty, the family called in search and rescue efforts, and the response from near and far amazed his parents and left them extremely thankful for the outcome and help they received in locating their son, alive and well.

It all started November 16, the first day of deer hunting season, in west Bennett County, about 11 a.m., when Dante` was in search of his first buck deer. He had hunted the previous year in the mentor program and bagged a doe, but this year was special and he was anxious to bring down a nice buck.

He was hunting with family, a tradition in the Hicks family, working through some draws that could be a challenge in places, when he saw some deer go up a draw. He took off in their direction to see what they were. After he reached the top of one draw, he discovered the deer were gone so he went over the hill to where his great-uncle Harvey had gone, but he did not see him anywhere. 

At this point, Dante`s dad, Kevin Rascher saw him walking, but since everyone was looking for deer, he didn’t realize Dante` may be heading in the wrong direction. Kevin shortly thereafter sat down and waited for Dante`, but he didn’t come by where he was waiting.

“I saw him walking up a draw and then at the bottom of the draw and cut across the draw,” said Kevin. “I waited for him, but he didn’t show so I continued to where we were going to meet up...but he didn’t show up there either.”

“I messaged everyone about 30 minutes later and they did not see him,” continued Kevin. “I stopped hunting and went back in the opposite direction. I saw a mountain lion kill and started to really worry. I went through draws and fired off shots so he could hear me. All of the family is now looking through the draws for Dante`.”

It is now about 12:30 p.m. and Dante` is headed down a draw to where he thought the others were and while on his way, heard two gun shots, which turned out to be from his dad, signaling to him where he was. After hearing the shots, Dante` started in that direction, but soon heard another shot from another direction, assuming those looking for him were working their way around him. 

This threw him off on the direction to go. He fired off several rounds himself to help those looking for him know where he was at. He kept some shells in case he needed them later on.

After a little over an hour of not locating Dante`, Kevin decides to call in for help. 

“That was one call I would not wish on anyone having to make,” said Kevin. “I called Angie (Dante`s mom) and Winner dispatch to report him missing.”

That call triggered a great response from the community and beyond, including two airplanes eventually in the air searching for Dante`. One of the airplanes was piloted by community member Carl Jackson, the other with the Highway Patrol Aircraft and Aviation.

See December 25, 2019 Issue for Full Article

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