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Ventura County

Ojai teen rescued from Foothill Trail after suffering mental health crisis

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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Thanks to coordination between various Ventura County Sheriff's Office resources, the teen was found by nightfall and reunited with his family.
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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Crews spent the afternoon hiking trails across Upper Ojai in hopes of finding the teen.
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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
A Ventura County Sheriff's helicopter was dispatched to search for the missing teen by air.
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Ventura County Sheriff's Office

OJAI, Calif. - A teen from Ojai was rescued by Ventura County Sheriff's Office resources Tuesday evening after he fled alone to Foothill Trail while suffering a mental health crisis.

Deputies said they received a call for service around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday afternoon stating that a 16-year-old boy was suffering a mental health crisis at his home in Ojai.

After responding to the home, deputies were informed the boy had fled and was last seen walking toward the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy Area north of Shelf Trail.

Deputies followed the direction and spotted the teen dressed in all black, hiking up the trail and out of view. They said he was last seen walking north on Fox Canyon Trail toward Foothill Trail.

The boy's family told deputies he had not eaten in multiple days and they were worried he would not be able to handle the hot weather and strenuous hiking. They also said they did not think he brought any food or water with him.

The sheriff's office activated its Tactical Response Team (TRT) to begin searching the area for the teen.

Members of the Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team also responded to help the TRT by using their knowledge of the area to determine where the teen might have been.

TRT members then sent out four-wheel-drive vehicles and hiking teams to search the ground from Pratt Trail to Gridley Trail. The Sheriff's Air Unit sent helicopters to search from the air.

After minimal success, the sheriff's office also dispatched an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Team (UAV) to search with FLIR cameras which can read heat signatures and help spot a person on the trails after nightfall.

Deputies announced that the teen had been found around 7 p.m. He was located on Foothill Trail about two miles from where he had last been seen.

The teen was taken to his mother before being transported to Ojai Valley Community Hospital where he was medically evaluated.

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Jessica Brest

Jessica Brest is a digital journalist and assignment editor for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Jessica, click here.

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