Hunter spotted missing family 2 days after van got stuck on remote logging road

NEAR SHELTON, Wash. -- Authorities say a hunter spotted a family walking down a remote road two days after their van broke down leaving them stranded.

According to the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office, the family -- Jason McAlister, 33, and Melissa McAlister, 27, and their two youngest girls, Lauren and Nadie -- was found safe Thursday morning near Matlock.

Deputies say the family left their Montesano home Tuesday morning to go sightseeing. As they were driving down a logging road in Mason County they noticed a tree down and stopped. As they tried to drive around it, their van got stuck.

The family had enough water and shelter to get through the night. On Wednesday, they started to walk out but became turned around and decided to return to the van for another night.

The father spoke to Q13 News reporter Adam Mertz late Thursday morning:

Deputies say on Wednesday morning, they decided to try to seek help again. As they were walking down the road, a hunter spotted the family, called 911, picked them up and took them to a store in Matlock.

Medics checked out the couple and their two young children, 8 months and 2 years old, and said they were in good health.

The family said their spirits were lifted because they heard coverage about the search on the radio.

The hunter said he was aware of media reports of the missing family and knew exactly who the McAlisters were when he saw them.

The family was expected to return home on Tuesday in time to pick up their two other children, ages 5 and 7. When nobody picked them up from a nearby school bus stop on Tuesday, loved ones called police to report the rest of the family missing.

Sheriff’s deputies in both Mason and Grays Harbor counties had been scouring logging roads since Tuesday night looking for the family.