The mother of 12-year-old Jared Negrete, the Boy Scout missing in the San Bernardino Mountains since July 19, circled the search area in a helicopter Monday, calling out to her son over a public address system.
“I said, ‘Jared, Jared, come out from where you are hiding,’ ” Linda Negrete recounted emotionally after her first flight in an aircraft.
“I said, ‘This is your mommy . . . these people (the searchers) are not strangers. They are good people who are trying to find you and bring you back home.’ ”
The El Monte scout disappeared while on a hike near the 11,500-foot summit of San Gorgonio Mountain.
More than 150 searchers showed up Monday, the 10th day of the search, at the rescue command post at the Angelus Oaks Fire Station, about 22 miles northeast of Redlands.
Searchers included 17 Marines from the Twentynine Palms Marine Base, four dogs from the California Rescue Dog Assn. and members of six search-and-rescue teams.
Four helicopters continued the air search, which is now concentrated on the south fork of the Whitewater River, a 22-square-mile, wedge-shaped area south of the San Gorgonio summit. The search was narrowed to that area after the discovery over the weekend of a camera and snack wrappers apparently dropped by Jared as he slid down a slope.
Linda Negrete and her husband, Philip, expressed faith that Jared is still alive, though they said they are “realistic.”
The mother, who was visiting the command post for the first time Monday, said she had been “in shock” during the first week of the search.
She speculated that Jared may have taken refuge against heat and cold in a deep ravine and had been “too scared” to come out.
“I’m just waiting for him to come home so I could hold my son in my arms again,” she said.
She said she felt reassured after her tour. “I see so many rescuers up there,” she said, “so much work going on.”
Jared disappeared on an overnight hiking trip led by Scoutmaster Dennis Knight.
Boy Scout officials said they would investigate whether Knight had observed proper safety procedures during the hike. Knight apparently violated the “two-deep leadership” scout policy requiring two adults for overnight trips. Also, the boy apparently was allowed to lag behind Knight and five other scouts as they reached the summit. Witnesses told authorities that the other hikers had planned to pick up Jared on the way back down.
Family members said Knight, who attends the same church as the Negrete family, has periodically joined the search for the youth.