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Footprints discovered in search for teen in Ashley National Forest

Published: Tuesday, July 28 2015 11:59 p.m. MDT

Footprints discovered Saturday by searchers are believed to belong to a 14-year-old boy who authorities say ran away Thursday from a camp for troubled youths. (Daggett County Sherriff Department) Footprints discovered Saturday by searchers are believed to belong to a 14-year-old boy who authorities say ran away Thursday from a camp for troubled youths. (Daggett County Sherriff Department)

ASHLEY NATIONAL FOREST — Footprints discovered Saturday by searchers are believed to belong to a 14-year-old boy who authorities say ran away Thursday from a camp for troubled youth.

The tracks were clearly those of someone wearing socks, said Garth Barker of Daggett County sheriff's search and rescue. Dogs were brought into the area to follow the trail of the bare footprints near Spirit Lake, where Andre Duran was camping with the Journey Impact Ranch group from Mona.

"When you find a track it takes and narrows your search parameters," Barker said. "Now you have a direction."

Andre, who was reported missing around 10 a.m. Thursday, was not wearing shoes, according to Daggett County Sheriff Jerry Jorgensen. The shoes of the campers were taken away at night to prevent them from running away.

Footprints discovered Saturday by searchers are believed to belong to a 14-year-old boy who authorities say ran away Thursday from a camp for troubled youths. (Sam Penrod, Deseret News) Footprints discovered Saturday by searchers are believed to belong to a 14-year-old boy who authorities say ran away Thursday from a camp for troubled youths. (Sam Penrod, Deseret News)

"It's the size range he would be in and so it could be promising," Jorgensen said. "All we know is it's a bare footprint at this point and we don't know who it belongs to."

Search and rescue crews worked throughout the daylight hours Saturday, but to no avail. They were expected to return to the area Sunday with the help of additional crews from other counties.

"At this point we have no plans to pull off," Jorgensen said.

The sheriff said the teen has "evaded them." He is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 130 pounds with short, light brown hair and was last seen wearing long pants, a T-shirt and socks. Investigators don't believe he had any supplies with him.

The ranch is a "moderate risk behavioral program" for 13- to 18-year-old boys, according to its website. The program typically lasts four to six months and involves work at the ranch in Mona or service projects in the area.

Footprints discovered Saturday by searchers are believed to belong to a 14-year-old boy who authorities say ran away Thursday from a camp for troubled youths. (Sam Penrod, Deseret News) Footprints discovered Saturday by searchers are believed to belong to a 14-year-old boy who authorities say ran away Thursday from a camp for troubled youths. (Sam Penrod, Deseret News)

Officials said that those in the program were camping in tents alone, spaced about 100 feet apart.

Liz Sollis, spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Human Services, asked for the public's help in locating the teenager Saturday. She said officials in Wyoming have also been notified and asked to look for Andre as it is possible he may have made his way there.

Andre's mother, Kelly Harris, said her son had never been camping and he doesn't have any survival skills. She plans on staying in the area until the search is finished, however long it takes.

"It's been truly the worst experience of my life," she said. "I haven't slept. I haven't eaten."

Sollis said the search and rescue efforts have taken place on horseback and on foot, in vehicles and airplanes and with the aid of tracking dogs.

Footprints discovered Saturday by searchers are believed to belong to a 14-year-old boy who authorities say ran away Thursday from a camp for troubled youths. (Sam Penrod, Deseret News) Footprints discovered Saturday by searchers are believed to belong to a 14-year-old boy who authorities say ran away Thursday from a camp for troubled youths. (Sam Penrod, Deseret News)

"Due to the limited belongings in Duran’s possession, the fact that he is a minor in unknown territory, and the time that has passed since he was last seen, we have great concern for his safety," Sollis said.

Anyone who sees Andre is asked to call 911 or the Daggett County Sheriff's Office at 435-789-4222.

Contributing: Lisa Riley Roche

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