California Sisters, 5 and 8, Revealed How They Survived after Getting Lost for 44 Hours
Last Friday, two young sisters went missing from their home in Benbow, California. They were finally found safe and sound in a forest after 44 hours.
Now the siblings are speaking up about how they survived for so long. They shared that the skills their parents taught them played a major role.
Leia Carrico, 8, and her sister Caroline Carrico, 5, revealed that they had survived being lost in the Northern California wilderness by watching survival movies. The camping lessons they received from their family also helped them.
Speaking to the press, Leia said: "I felt a little nervous and a little afraid, but I knew dad would find us eventually.” According to Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal, the pair was found on Sunday morning uninjured and "in good spirits."
Misty Carrico, the girl’s mother, shared that her children had asked her to take them on a hike Friday afternoon. She asked for a rain check at the time because she was preoccupied with taking care of their younger brother.
Misty explained, "And I loaded a couple of bags and I turned around and both my girls were gone." The girl’s mother initially took the situation lightly as she thought the children had gone for a walk in the woods as usual.
However, when it got dark she called for help. The children explained that after they’d asked their mother for a hike they went for walk down a deer trail they used before, but they went past a marker that their parents told them not to pass.
Caroline stated, "Leia wanted a little tiny more adventure, but I wanted more. Turning back to go home, the two children failed to retrace their steps home but took a wrong turn and got lost.
Misty believed her daughter’s had walked 6 miles in the wrong direction. Speaking to the press, the little girls explained that they started getting nervous when it got dark and began raining.
Recalling the moment, Leia said: "My sister cried the whole night, so I told her to think happy thoughts of our family and I kept watch most of the night.” The two found shelter under a tree branch where they shared Caroline's rain jacket and huddled close for warmth.
Leia explained that she managed to start a fire because “I knew how to start a fire because I watch a lot of ‘Tropical Paradise.’” She added, "When we woke up we stayed in the same place so Dad could find us. There was a creek nearby and we sang nursery rhymes at the top of our lungs.”
Over 100 police and rescue personnel searched for the children, including the National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard. Tracking dogs and helicopters were used in the search and the girls revealed that they saw the planes and called out to them but couldn't flag them down.
Both children shared how it was so cold that their hands turned white and they had trouble opening and closing them. On the second night, the girls found better shelter under a huckleberry bush and they stayed hydrated by drinking fresh water from the leaves.
Sunday morning rescuers discovered boot tracks and were able to find the girls' location. Family friend Delbert Chumley said, "We were calling occasionally and stopping to listen.”
"We heard some crackling in the brush so we stopped. I thought we heard someone say 'dad.' We called out again and they said 'we're right here.'"
The little girls were taken to a hospital and they were released to their parents. Misty also credited the girl’s participation in the local 4-H program which equipped them with skills to survive.
Although she was upset with the girls breaking the family rules by wandering too far, she admitted that she was proud of how they survived. She added, "I'm trying not to punish them because they did the right thing. They might have wandered off but they stuck together and they pulled themselves through. They saved each other."
Speaking at a press conference after the children were found, Honsal said:
"I am pleased to report that we all are witnessing a miracle today. Caroline and Leia have been found safe and sound in southern Humboldt.”