ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Authorities are searching for the grandmother of a toddler after her 2-year-old grandchild was found alone and abandoned for two days in a locked car on a rural Alaska road.
The search for Mary Dawn Wilson, 69, is being concentrated around the community of Healy, Alaska State Troopers said in a statement. The car was found abandoned Thursday on Stampede Road, just outside Healy.
The child appeared to be in good health and was handed over to the state Office of Children’s Services, the statement said.
Officials said evidence in the car indicated that the child and car were abandoned Tuesday, troopers said. Wilson was the last known person with the child, the statement said,
Healy is located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Denali National Park and Preserve.
Stampede Road is famous for being the main thoroughfare that adventurers used to retrace the steps of Christopher McCandless, a young idealist whose journey on the Stampede Trail ended with his death.
The trail road eventually ends and opens up to treacherous Alaska backcountry, where McCandless took shelter in an abandoned city bus after became trapped by the swollen Teklanika River.
He died of starvation in 1992 and his life and death were made famous by the book “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer and then by the movie directed by Sean Penn.
Over the years, people trying to reach the bus that was located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Healy to pay pilgrimage to McCandless had to be rescued themselves or died. That prompted state officials to remove the bus from the backcountry in 2020.
The bus is currently being prepared for permanent outdoor display at the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks. People can watch a livestream of the work being performed on the bus.