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Searcher: Scout 'pretty well out of it'

Youngster was scared that he was in trouble

Volunteer searcher Forrest Nunley


Missing Persons

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Cub Scout Brennan Hawkins told reporters Wednesday he felt "good" a day after he was found in the Utah wilderness after a four-day search.

Forrest Nunley, the volunteer who first located the 11-year-old, spoke Wednesday with CNN's Kyra Phillips.

PHILLIPS: You saw the media coverage. Why did you want to help out? Why did you want to try to find Brennan?

NUNLEY: I think everyone in our community in Utah has always kind of banded together to do those things with any missing person, or whether it's a flood, whatever. They just are a very tight community. And we like helping each other. You get good feelings from it.

And [it is] just one of the gut feelings that you receive that you need to listen to and go and do it.

PHILLIPS: You knew how this was going to take off in the media, because Elizabeth Smart -- we remember that case and that story -- lived in your neighborhood. So, you really wanted to react?

NUNLEY: Yes. Well, I wanted to help. ...

PHILLIPS: You have an all-terrain vehicle that was loaded up and ready to go, because that is just the kind of guy you are. ...

So, you headed out to the area. Where did you start?

NUNLEY: I just pulled off a road there. I had a good map. And I did some checking the night before.

And I just went to a lake that was called Lily Lake. [It] looked good to me on the map, about as far away as I thought the kid could go in three or four days, a little farther out than the search parties, I think, were going, and just worked my way out in and just happened to be in the right place at the right time, I guess.

PHILLIPS: How did you know it was him? What did you see?

NUNLEY: When I first saw him, it was really hard to believe. You know, you don't know whether it was real or, you know, if it was him. ... I couldn't see him very well. He was about 30, 40 yards away. And, as I got closer, I noticed that his face was dirty. And I thought, 'Wow, he's alone. He's not with a Scout group.' I didn't know whether he was out just camping with other Scouts.

PHILLIPS: Was he sitting or standing?

NUNLEY: Standing up.

PHILLIPS: Just standing out there?

NUNLEY: Holding a wet T-shirt. ... And he was all wet and. ... I approached him and I asked his name. He says, 'I'm Brennan.'

[I sat him down] and [got] him warm, put some clothes on him and stuff, gave him some food and water, and tried to call 911.

PHILLIPS: You are a father of three. You know how to communicate with your kids, right? ... What else did he say to you?

NUNLEY: He didn't -- you know, he was really pretty well out of it. He was a little worried. He was scared that -- heard that his dad was up there. He thought he was in trouble.

The cowboys [searchers on horseback] had just rode by him five minutes before. He thought that they were bogeymen out to get him. And so he was hiding. ...

PHILLIPS: Did anybody tell you about Brennan, you know, he's shy, he might not respond to you? Did anybody give you any type of warning about if indeed you came across him, how to handle him?

NUNLEY: No. I didn't -- I didn't think that someone would actually hide from people, you know? ...

That didn't enter my mind. I didn't think of that.

And then I heard that he was a little shy of water. So, I didn't think he would probably go around a river much. And so, I just picked a spot and was kind of just led up there to find him.

PHILLIPS: Did you embrace him? Did he embrace you?

NUNLEY: Oh, yes. Yes. He is a skinny little guy when I hugged him. ...

But it was a real special, real spiritual experience for me to find him like that. ...

PHILLIPS: So, you put him in the car.

NUNLEY: No. ... I had to drive back down to find the EMTs and then drive them up there. ... They followed me.

PHILLIPS: So, you told him to wait there?

NUNLEY: ... The cowboys there ... actually stayed with him. It was one of his uncles or something just happened to be up the trail from me, five minutes ahead of me is all. ...

PHILLIPS: Are you going to keep in touch with him? Are you going to visit him?

NUNLEY: ... I talked to his dad and his mother. ... And they were just happy that we all felt the same, and they were just elated that their son was back with them.

PHILLIPS: When you finally got back, did he say goodbye, thank you so much?

NUNLEY: ... No, he was too out of it. ... I just stood back and watched it. It was really neat to watch. And his mother and father, to hug him and see him like that, wow. What a neat thing to see.

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