Boy, 5, Found Dead on Alaska Hiking Trail

A 5-year-old boy was found dead on an Alaska hiking trail days after his mother left him to seek help after the two became disoriented and lost, state troopers said.

Five-year-old Jaxson Brown was found on Lunch Creek trail in Ketchikan County by rescue workers on Saturday afternoon, the Ketchikan Daily News reported. Jaxson’s mother, 36-year-old Jennifer Treat, was found 3 miles up the trail on Friday.

The two had to spend the night in the wild together after they had embarked on a hike along the five-mile Lunch Creek Trail on Wednesday, March 25 and got lost.

Treat had set out alone seeking help on Thursday when Jaxson became too hungry and tired and did not want to hike any further. The air was chilly, and foggy with temperatures diving into the deep forties at night.

The trail was muddy and slippery and partly made up of boardwalks, with natural tread sections. In some places, snow was waist-deep, Jerry Kiffer, Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad incident commander, said.

In her quest for help, the mother fell multiple times and had severely injured her leg, which impeded her from seeking help. “In her rush to find help, Treat reportedly tripped on a root and significantly injured her leg,” Alaska State Troopers said in a press release.

Lunch Treek Trail waterfall
Stream near Lunch Creek Trail, Alaska, where Jennifer Treat and her son Jaxson Brown were lost on Wednesday, March 25. (

Troopers received a phone call to help a woman and a boy. Police found Treat’s car at the trailhead parking lot, and a rescue team of some 20 troopers and volunteers assisted by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter started an extensive search for the two, which led to finding Treat on Friday. Treat was transported by helicopter for treatment.

On Friday, searchers found a shoe that belonged to Jaxson, but it wasn’t till Saturday around 2:45 p.m. that Jaxson was found, but, by then, it was too late; Jaxson had already died.

“An autopsy will be conducted to determine the manner and cause of death. At this time, while it is very tragic, it doesn’t appear to be suspicious in nature,” troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said, the outlet reported.