MONTESANO, Wash. -
A Washington state man located with his wife and his two youngest children after being missing for two days says he's grateful for the effort put in by searchers after the family's van became stuck on a remote logging road southwest of Seattle.
Jason McAlister told reporters Thursday the family tried to walk out to get help after the van got stuck on Tuesday afternoon, but darkness fell and as temperatures fell into the 30s, they spent the night on the side of the road in a shelter he built with fir boughs leaned against a rock face. Early Wednesday they walked back to the van, warmed up with the heater, listened to the radio and watched DVDs.
He said they headed out again Thursday, and that's when they were spotted by hunters who drove them to get help.
Authorities earlier said the family had spent both nights in their van.
Authorities in Washington state are crediting a hunter with finding four members of a family missing since Tuesday.
The Grays Harbor Sheriff's Office said that thanks to heavy media coverage, the hunter immediately recognized Jason and Melissa McAlister and their two youngest children when he saw them walking along a remote logging road in Mason County, southwest of Seattle.
Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate says Jason and Melissa McAlister brought their 8-month-old and 2-year-old out for a drive while the couple's two older children were at school Tuesday. They tried to drive around a downed tree on a logging road but got stuck.
They had plenty of fuel in their van and some water, and they spent both nights in the vehicle. Shumate says they tried to walk out to get help Wednesday, but got turned around. They're in good condition.
11/16/16 2:12 p.m.
A mom, dad and two of their four children are missing in southwest Washington.
The Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday its deputies have been out driving logging roads searching for Jason and Melissa McAlister and two of their children, ages 8 months and 2 years.
Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate says their landlord spoke with Jason McAlister a little before 7 a.m. Tuesday, and reported that he said they planned to do some chores in the morning, then go for a drive and be home near Montesano by 3 p.m. when their older children returned home from school.
Shumate says a school bus driver brought the older children -- who are 5 and 7 years old -- back to the Montesano school bus garage when no one picked them up at the bus stop after school.
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