Search crews find missing teen in Cowlitz County woods - KPTV - FOX 12

Search crews find missing teen in Cowlitz County woods

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Elijah Velke Elijah Velke
CASTLE ROCK, WA (KPTV) -

Search crews canvassing rugged terrain in Castle Rock found a missing 16-year-old boy Friday night.

Elijah Velke was last seen Wednesday afternoon.

His family believed the boy, who goes by "Eli," was out in the woods behind his home. They said he often goes out there. However, he did not come home Wednesday night, so they began searching for him.

Their efforts were not successful and they notified the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office about the situation Thursday.

Crews searched the area through Thursday night. On Friday morning, additional county and state teams with tracking dogs and ATVs, along with volunteers, joined the search operation.

A King County Sheriff's helicopter was scheduled to arrive earlier in the day but was delayed for mechanical reasons until Friday afternoon to begin an air search.

The search area was roughly 15 square miles of steep and rugged timberland.

By around 6 p.m. Friday, search teams said they located Elijah. A searcher on an ATV said he heard someone yell for help and say, "My name is Eli and I am lost."

The boy's condition was not immediately known, but preliminary reports indicated he was not injured.

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