Oregon mother gets lost on search for son’s beanie

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KLAMATh FALLS, Ore. — A Southern Oregon woman spent the night bundled with her infant son in a hollowed-out tree after wandering away from camp.

Now, she says she’s training to become one of the search-and-rescue volunteers who spent a September night searching for her.

Billie-Jean Biria got turned around en route to retrieving her son’s red beanie, which fell from his head on Sept. 17, The Herald and News in Klamath Falls reports.

“I took for granted I knew where I was going,” Biria said

With her son and two dogs in tow, Biria found the beanie but lost her way, and had to take shelter.

“At no point was I scared,” she said. “I think my maternal instincts kicked in.”

On Sept. 18, she heard her husband’s truck and ran to a nearby road, where she found dozens of search and rescue volunteers. “I didn’t know I was such a big deal,” Biria said. “It was a lot of people. I was amazed and thankful.”

The numerous volunteers were from California and Oregon search and rescue teams. A mutual-aid agreement between regional counties and public safety agencies allows any of the members to call in the support of others.

“We call it pushing the big button,” Klamath County Sheriff’s Sgt. Randall Swan said. Klamath County search and rescue volunteers had been looking for Biria all night, but when they couldn’t find the woman, other counties were asked for help.

It wasn’t an unqualified success: Her son’s beanie fell off his head again on their way back to camp, and remains lost.