Putney School Student goes missing on running trails and returns on own


Putney — A 17-year-old Putney School student returned to campus after law enforcement officers conducted a two hour search for him.

The teen said he met up with his fellow classmates around 8:15 a.m. on Wednesday to depart for their class project, which requires the students to venture off into the woods without any electronics with the purpose of exploring and contemplating nature. However, the student was supposed to return for lunch time and did not show up. Then he was supposed to be present for a soccer match later in the afternoon, but was nowhere to be found. Fellow students reported last seeing him around noon. The Putney Fire Department, Windham County Sheriff Office and Vermont State Police conducted a search and rescue among the Putney School trails for about two hours, and then at 5:30 p.m. the teenager appeared at the trail entrance, running toward the cruisers, unaware how long he was gone for or that there was a search team out looking for him

"I'm so sorry," said the student when he returned.

The 17-year-old said he went for a run on the 5K loop, then the 7K loop and then took a nap out in the woods because he was tired. He said he then continued on the 10K loop where he was looking for a brook to do a water color drawing.

"I'm actually quite familiar with those trails," he said.

After he found the brook, the teenager realized it was getting late and he did not want to be late for his soccer game. He then began jogging on the trails, headed back to campus.

"I was trying to think, 'please speed up, be faster, I don't want to miss the game,'" the teenager said.

However, he then told himself to stop worrying about rushing back to campus, because he thought this type of thinking went against the purpose of the class project, which he said is to live in the present time. He then made another stop to complete some charcoal drawings. Eventually the student made his way back to campus.

According to the Assistant Head of the Putney School, Randy Smith, the school owns about 500 acres, but the total network of trails is probably double that amount. However, the immediate search area was conducted among about 60 acres of trails, according to Putney Fire Chief Tom Goddard.

The Putney Fire Department, Vermont State Police, Windham County Sheriff Office, Rescue Inc. and other staff and students helped search for the teen.

Smith told the student that was missing that he could head over to the dining hall for dinner.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275


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