Body of missing Walla Walla boy found

Nathan Cain, 13, became separated from his father and two other skiers in the Horseshoe Prairie Nordic Ski Area on Saturday.



TOLLGATE, Ore. — Searchers have found the body of a Walla Walla boy missing since Saturday near Tollgate.Nathan Cain

The Union County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Nathan Cain, 13, had been discovered. The boy became separated from his father, Jim Cain, and his father’s two friends during a cross-country skiing trip.

The find was a grim ending to a search effort that started today near the Andies Prairie Sno-Park area. According to the boy's mother, Cheryl Cain, crews were tackling a 4-square-mile areas near Andies Peak, which was an estimated two miles south of Spout Springs Ski Resort.

2:15 p.m. UPDATE -Union County Sheriff reports that the body of Nathan Cain has been found. More info to come.

TOLLGATE, Ore. -- Family and friends of a missing Walla Walla boy were joined by law enforcement and search and rescue crews this morning near the Andies Prairie Sno-Park area to resume a search.

They are entering day three of looking for 13-year-old Nathan Cain, who got separated from his father and his father's two friends while cross-country skiing in the area about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Cain is a seventh-grade student at Rogers Adventist School in College Place. His parents are Cheryl and Jim Cain of Walla Walla.

This morning, Cheryl Cain said search crews would be tackling a 4-square-mile area near Andies Prairie, which she estimated to be about two miles south of Spout Springs Ski Resort.

The Union County Search and Rescue Team has been working with the Union County Sheriff's Office since Saturday. The Umatilla County and Baker County sheriff's offices were called in to assist in the search. Several volunteer skiers also are helping.

Cheryl Cain said the first search group of the day headed out about 8 a.m. She said her husband and friends spent several hours looking for Nathan initially Saturday, but called for help when Nathan couldn't be located. That search team arrived about 6 p.m. Saturday and worked into the night, and apparently found tracks indicating where Nathan had been.

"They could see where they (his father and friends) searched for him, and he was in those tracks later in the day," Cain said.

Cheryl Cain said many more people arrived to resume the search Sunday.

This morning, she counted at least 24 search-and-rescue vehicles.

"We've got a lot of volunteers," Cain said. "They're on snowmobiles, cross country skis and snow treads."

The Union County Sheriff's Office said they received the 911 call about 5 p.m. Saturday, with reports of a cross-country skier missing in the Horseshoe Prairie Nordic Ski Area northwest of Elgin on Highway 204.

A military helicopter unit from the Oregon National Guard was called in to conduct sweeps of the area. The unit is expected to resume assistance today, along with an Oregon State Police plane, Union County Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen said in a news release.

The promise of mild temperatures and sunny skies is part of what drew Jim Cain and his son to ski Saturday. Cheryl Cain said Nathan wore just jeans and two sweatshirts, because of highs expected in the 40s during the day. The warm weather is now offering favorable conditions to conduct the search.

Temperatures have dipped to the 20s at night, but the family is confident of Nathan's chances.

"Everyone is pretty much ubpeat," said Bob Nelson of Union County Search and Rescue. "We have positive expectations."

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at or 526-8317. Check out her blog at


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