Searchers Trying to Find Missing Natrona County Teen Before Winter Storm Hits
Nine days after a Natrona County teen walked away from his home, searchers are working tirelessly to find him before a significant winter storm moves into the area.
Joseph Peterson, 16, walked away from his home Sunday, Nov. 10 between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. Searchers finally found his footprints on Saturday, and found additional footprints Monday.
However, those prints are believed to be days old. The Natrona County Sheriff's Office said search efforts include tracking experts, search dogs, mounted searchers and drones.
A strong cold front is expected to push into central Wyoming beginning late Tuesday, staying through Thursday morning. It is expected to leave four to six inches of snow in the lower elevations of Natrona County, while a winter storm watch issued for Casper Mountain calls for three to eight inches of new snow accumulation.
The footprints found since Saturday showed a general direction of travel in steep, mountainous terrain. Search crews on Monday were converging on both sides of an area where Peterson is believed to have been headed.
Peterson's home is located in the area of Goose Creek and Hat Six Road in southeastern Natrona County. While the sheriff's office has not disclosed the exact area where the prints were found, officials have said the footprints were located miles from Peterson's home.
Software is being utilized to comb thousands of images captured by drones, with the ability to search for colors or other factors that may indicate a human presence in an image.
"With poor weather expected to move in overnight, we remain persistent and hopeful of finding Joey as soon as possible," the sheriff's office said in an update Tuesday afternoon.
Anyone who sees Peterson or has information regarding his whereabouts should immediately call the Natrona County Sheriff's Office at 235-9300.