Benton County Search and Rescue detail how they found missing hiker

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A team of four from Benton County Search and Rescue was in the woods for 17 hours on Friday, June 7, with several agencies from across the state. 

Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer said 38-year-old Joshua McClatchy of Fort Worth was found dehydrated but in good spirits when he was found. 

He was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

A National Guard helicopter was able to search the Caney Creek Wilderness area using infrared technology. 

At dusk on Friday, the chopper crew spotted McClatchy, and it took rescuers on the ground an hour to reach him and several more hours to carry him out. 

Melissa Middleton from the Benton County Search and Rescue Team said the terrain was up-hill, rocky, and muddy — overall extremely challenging. 

She said she’s proud of how the state came together to find him. 


“It was different because it was mutual aid with other counties, which we have enjoyed,” she said. “We train lots of hours for this and so to be able to utilize our training and equipment with other counties and search and rescue teams, it was just a great experience.”

Middleton said McClatchy will make a full recovery. 

Benton County Search and Rescue got back to Northwest Arkansas at 9 a.m. on June 8. 

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