Missing boy who prompted Nixle alert found safe

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

A 12-year-old Bonner County boy went missing Tuesday, prompting a search and rescue effort that ultimately found the boy not far from his home.

The Bonner County Sheriff’s Office said Caden Riffel went missing from his Selle Road residence between 7 and 9:30 a.m., according to his father. Riffel was first reported to BCSO by a man who said Riffel showed up at his doorstep claiming his father had dropped him off in the woods and “didn’t want him anymore,” said Captain Tim Hemphill. When the man left the boy alone for a moment to get him some water, Riffel disappeared.

Soon after, BCSO received a call from Riffel’s father that the boy had wandered away from his home while his parents were sleeping. BCSO then issued Nixle alerts at 12:41 p.m. and 1 p.m. providing details on Riffel’s appearance and notifying anyone who saw him to call 911.

Hemphill said BCSO activated Bonner County’s Volunteer Search and Rescue after several hours had passed and tips from the community didn’t lead to Riffel. Ultimately, a search-and-rescue member found Riffel about 300 yards southeast of his home, and he appeared to be walking in that direction.

BCSO issued a final alert at 6:58 p.m.: “Missing 12 year old child, Caden, has been located, thanks to all who helped with the search and tips!”

Helphill said it isn’t clear why Riffel wandered away from his home Tuesday. He said BCSO has offered to follow up with the family to see if there’s anything more they can do.

“Nothing seems to be jumping to light immediately,” Hemphill said, noting Riffel’s relaxed attitude when he was found and the fact that he was walking toward his residence seemed to suggest he’d only gone “for a walk” for the day.

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