John Q Murray  /  Clark Fork Chronicle
Kenneth Gerken, 3, is reunited on Sunday with his younger brother, Zackery, 9 months, at a campsite near Missoula, Mont.
updated 8/30/2004 2:33:07 PM ET 2004-08-30T18:33:07

A 3-year-old boy reported missing for three days from a campground was found safe and unharmed.

Scantily clad and without food, Kenneth Gerken survived three nights with temperatures dropping into the low 40s. He was found Sunday by a volunteer taking part in the search.

“If you believe in miracles, folks, Missoula got one today,” Missoula County Sheriff Mike McMeekin said Sunday night. “You never give up, but I was really getting oriented toward a recovery (of a body.)”

Kenneth was reported missing Thursday evening at the Kreis Pond campground near Missoula. His mother, Karinda Gerken, had been staying there with the boy and his infant brother, awaiting a move into a residence.

The boy was reunited with his mother late Sunday, a “very happy — and lucky — little boy,” McMeekin said.

The searcher who found Kenneth, Tony Kasauskas, said he was sitting on a logging skid trail near the top of a knob.

“He was shivering. He was pretty wet,” Kasauskas said.

Officials said the boy was about a half-mile outside the widest area previously searched by more than 100 people.

Meanwhile, in Utah, the full-scale search ended Sunday for a 12-year-old Boy Scout, Garrett Bardsley, who disappeared Aug. 20 in the Uintas mountains some 50 miles east of Salt Lake City.

Officials say they will continue to return to the area monthly and will ask hikers and hunters to keep an eye out for the remains of the boy, who is presumed dead.

Garrett’s parents, Heidi and Kevin, acknowledged they can’t remain at the search site much longer.

“It’s hard for us right now, and it’ll always be hard for us,” Kevin Bardsley said. “But (my other) children need me, too, and they need our support.”

The family is compiling a list of volunteers who want to continue searching for Garrett.

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