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Lost woman entertained kids until rescue

A Medford woman stranded after Apple Maps sent her on backwoods roads toward a Tuesday day-hike kept her three young children entertained with short walks but stayed near her stuck minivan until searchers found them early Wednesday, authorities said.

Cameron Cutler and her children — 5-year-old boy and girl twins and 4-year-old boy — were discovered safe at 12:55 a.m. Wednesday at their van, which was wedged between a tree and a ditch on an unmaintained forest road in the Anderson Creek area, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

They were taken to a search-and-rescue command post in Ruch, where they were united with family and friends, sheriff’s Sgt. Shawn Richards said.

The Cutlers had planned a day hike in the Tunnel Ridge Trail area, but Apple Maps led them from Talent onto a series unpaved and unmaintained roads, deputies said. After driving several miles, Cutler decided to turn around, but the vehicle became stuck while she tried to turn it and there was no cell service there, deputies said.

While she entertained her children, Cutler’s husband reported the family missing at 6:12 p.m., and 150 SAR searchers were dispatched to find her, succeeding in less than seven hours, Richards said.

Richards said Cutler did the right thing by bringing food, water, clothing and keeping her children in good spirits and staying near her vehicle.

However, the family’s ordeal is an example of why backwoods travelers should stick to familiar routes, don’t rely on electronic navigation devices, carry enough food and water for 48 hours, and make sure someone knows of the route you intend to take, Richards said.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

The Cutler family