Missing girls found in woods near SOU

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Two Eagle Point girls reported missing in Ashland near the White Rabbit Trailhead were found by searchers Friday morning, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department reported.

One girl was listed in critical condition and the other was described as stable, Ashland police reported. No information was released on what caused the girls' injuries.

Ashland police got a report at about 8:20 p.m. Thursday that two 15-year-old girls had left the Elkader Street home of the grandmother of one of the girls.

Messages they sent to friends and family indicated they were hiking into the forest on the White Rabbit Trail, Ashland police said.

Officers checked the trail near the intersection of South Mountain and Ivy streets, but couldn't find the girls. Ashland called on Jackson County sheriff's search teams at about 9:50 p.m. Thursday, a sheriff's department news release said.

More than 30 search-and-rescue volunteers from Siskiyou, Josephine, Klamath and Jackson counties assisted in the search, with teams of hikers using dogs converging on the area.

At 2 a.m. Friday, the sheriff's department requested air support from the Oregon National Guard, sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said in Friday's news release. At 6:30 a.m., a Lakota helicopter arrived to help with the search.

The sheriff's department helicopter also started searching Friday morning, and at 7:30 a.m. its crew spotted the girls in the hills just above Southern Oregon University.

Medics were dropped in to begin assessing the girls' medical needs, and the teens were taken by all-terrain vehicles to waiting ambulances that transported them to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center.

Friends and family had received farewell messages from the girls, leading them to believe the teens could be suicidal, Ashland police said.

Anyone who feels suicidal or knows someone who is can get help 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling the Jackson County Mental Health Crisis Line at 541-774-8201.

Reach Mail Tribune Web editor Anita Burke at 541-776-4485 or aburke@mailtribune.com. Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com.


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