Hounds picked up the scent Wednesday of a Utah man who has been missing since Sunday in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness above Twin Lakes, according to his sister.
However, Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton said Wednesday night that he had not heard the news the three dog teams had found anything.
Kaden Laga, 25, was last seen Saturday when the family was returning to the Twin Lakes trailhead from a horseback ride from the Moose Creek Ranger Station in Idaho.
Holton said a horse had gone lame and family members were taking turns walking. When the family stopped for lunch, Laga said he would continue to walk with the idea they would catch up with him.
The family arrived at the Twin Lakes trailhead without seeing him again.
Laga was about 16 miles west of Twin Lakes when he was last seen.
Helicopters from Two Bear Air, Choice Aviation and the Montana National Guard have flown over the expansive area without spotting Laga.
Search plans for Thursday include ground searches with five dog teams as well as continued use of helicopters. A five-person team from the Idaho County Search and Rescue will also be flown into the Moose Meadow area to begin searching around the location where Laga was last seen.
Laga’s family created a Facebook page, “Search for Kaden Laga,” Wednesday to provide updates on the search.
On the Facebook page, Laga’s sister, Carly, said hounds were deployed at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. At about 4 p.m., she said the family received word the dogs had picked up Laga’s scent.
A large search party put together by the family is expected to be on the scene Thursday.
“What this mean for us that it has narrowed our search quite a bit tomorrow when we are out there in the bush because we know what direction he went,” Laga’s sister said. “They haven’t pinpointed Kaden yet and we are hopeful that will come later tonight and we won’t have to have people out there searching miles and miles.
“This is great news and the first news that we’ve heard at all as far as where Kaden is,” Laga’s sister said on Facebook.
The incident command on the search will transfer over to the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office on Friday morning. The search area is entirely in Idaho.
Holton said Ravalli County will continue to offer support.
Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings said the area is remote and rugged.
“It was a trail that they were on, but so many things can happen,” Giddings said. “It’s a huge area. We know they were headed back to the Twin Lakes area on the trail, but beyond that we don’t know much.”
Laga’s sister said the family is grateful for all the support they have received.
“At this time we don’t need additional volunteers (for the search),” she said. “We have the people that we need, and are able to be responsible for, and can make sure can get in and out safely. … If you would like to help in other ways, we just like prayers for Kaden and are accepting monetary donations to help with the search effort.”
Donations can be made directly to the family via Venmo @Wildlife-Jesse-Morris.
“We are so grateful for everybody who has been so willing to drop everything and come and join the search effort,” Laga’s sister said. “People who have spent money, who have sent donations for the rescuers going in, people who offered up prayers on Kaden’s behalf.”