BOISE — When Kyle Crowden, 27, didn’t show up for a “mom date” with his mother Janet Coupe on Sunday afternoon, she thought he had just forgotten and had gone about his normal Sunday routine — laundry, hanging with friends, or maybe he got called into work.
When he didn’t show up for work at Western Power Sports in Boise, Coupe knew something was wrong; Crowden is responsible, she said.
Coupe and her best friend, Sharon Morrison, called and texted Crowden and drove back and forth in front of his apartment. But they never received a reply, and his car never appeared in its usual spot. Coupe started messaging his friends on Facebook, hoping for clues as to where Crowden could be. One tip from a hiking buddy led her to the Dry Creek Trailhead, about 4.5 miles up Bogus Basin Road. That’s where at 9:10 Monday morning, she found his car.
Crowden didn’t tell her he was going hiking, but he went out to explore trails at least once a week, and often by himself. They never had concerns before.
“He’s a good hiker,” Coupe said.
He was neither recently injured nor sick, she said, at least not when he started.
Crowden was last heard from Saturday afternoon, and for the past two days, his family has searched alongside the Ada County Sheriff’s Office and Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit volunteers. Coupe’s brother-in-law and son spent five hours on Wednesday braving the snowy trails with the search teams who walked all the way into Boise County from Bogus Basin.
The conditions over the days have worsened. At the end of Wednesday, when a three-man search crew returned, they had covered all of the best possible trail locations based on where Crowden’s car was found, rescue volunteer Christi Kelley said.
The sheriff’s office on Wednesday night suspended the search until weather conditions improve, the office announced on Twitter.
“Rain, snow, and visibility limitations have made the search efforts challenging and hazardous,” according to the tweet.
The ACSO is indefinitely suspending the search to find a 27 year-old hiker reported missing in the Foothills off Bogus Basin Road earlier this week. Rain, snow, and visibility limitations have made the search efforts challenging and hazardous.— Ada County Sheriff (@AdaCoSheriff) February 14, 2019
Two detectives in Boise have also been exploring any possibilities of what could have happened, Ada County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Rowe said. Crowden’s car was found untouched, with no indication of foul play.
“There’s so many different circumstances,” Rowe said. “There’s nothing to tell us what would or could have happened.”
As Rowe stood with a huddled group of Crowden’s family and friends Wednesday afternoon, on a narrow turnout next to the busy mountain road, he promised they were not giving up.
“We’ll be back as soon as the weather’s right,” he said.
Bogus Basin was in winter storm warning until midnight Wednesday, with snow reaching down to the 3,500-foot elevation mark. The search has been taking place in elevations between 4,000 and 6,200 feet. In the lower elevations, search crews are seeing 6-8 inches of snow, and in the higher elevations up to 6 feet of snow, Ron Christensen, vice president of the Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit, told the Idaho Press.
Kelley, who had been out with the search teams previously, said a Snowcat could not even make it through the snow.
Temperatures in the search area will likely be around freezing and up into the mid-40s going into Friday, National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Wojcik said.
Morrison, Coupe’s longtime best friend, described Crowden as wonderful, sweet, kind, caring and hardworking, as she sat in her car, passing out donuts she had picked up for the family and search team. Morrison was with Coupe when they found his car.
“If I needed anything fixed or done, he would be there,” she said.
Crowden grew up and went to school in Mountain Home. He and his mom and Morrison went to watch “many movies” and frequented restaurants. His favorite is Café Ole, Morrison said.
“Everything, every possible scenario just circles in your head,” Morrison said. “But ultimately you just end up asking, why him?”
The scope of the search team’s efforts, Morrison said, is “beyond what regular people do.” She hopes to find a way to get a portable toilet up to the search area for the teams to use during their long days.
The family and the volunteers shared embraces Wednesday as people in the group started to head down the mountain for the night. Many have not eaten or slept much, and some promised to search the trails on their own if they can.
“What do you do?” Morrison asked. “You have no closure.”
The ACSO would like to thank Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue (IMSR) crews for all their hard work and dedication over the last three days in very challenging conditions. IMSR, a volunteer organization, is an invaluable partner and greatly appreciated.— Ada County Sheriff (@AdaCoSheriff) February 14, 2019
Idaho Press reporter Emily Lowe contributed to this report.