This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2005, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
UPPER WEBER RIVER - The last day of the final search for lost 12-year-old Garrett Bardley ended Saturday just as all the other days have.
There was no sign of the Elk Ridge boy who disappeared in the high Uintas almost a year ago and is presumed dead.
The Bardsley family had hoped Saturday would be the day they found a clue to Garrett's disappearance. About 500 volunteers participated, more than arrived the previous two-days, which attracted 360 and 318, but far less than the 1,500 the family was prepared to accommodate.
Most teams concentrated on areas deemed to have a high probability of holding clues or a sector organizers felt hadn't previously been searched thoroughly enough.
Volunteers were aware of Saturday's importance, too. Unlike Thursday and Friday, many search teams held a group prayer before departing for the rugged terrain of the Uinta Mountains.
In the end, the prayers were not answered. Many bones, presumed to belong to animals, and scraps of cloth and garbage were collected over the three days, but Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds said none of it was related to Garrett.
"It leaves us believing he's still out there and we will make a find one day," he said.
The Summit County Sheriff's Office will continue to post notices on its Web site reminding people that Garrett is still missing and asking visitors to report any evidence of him.
After the search ended Saturday, Edmunds said it's becoming increasingly clear the boy walked out of the area that has been searched. "One theory goes, he walked for 10 or 12 hours before the weather came - and he beelined it."
Garrett disappeared Aug. 20, 2004, on a trip with his father and some Boy Scouts. The group was near Cuberant Lake. Garrett's shoes became wet and his father sent him back to camp, but the boy never made it there.
A search began within 40 minutes after he was last seen. Summit County Search and Rescue joined, and after a few days the mission changed from a rescue operation to a recovery. The search was discontinued Aug. 29 without finding a sign of Garrett.
The Bardsley family continued searching until winter weather forced them to stop. They kept Garrett's name circulating through the public by founding an organization in his name and starting the Web site http://www.findgarrett.org. They prepared months for the second search.
In the second search, the mission was to find remains or some other sign of Garrett the family could use to bring closure.
"I think everyone was out here hoping they'd be the ones to find something," said Virginia Roundy, a 54-year-old volunteer from Orem, shortly after her search team returned.
Bardsley family members have said the search that concluded Saturday would be the last, large-scale effort to find Garrett's remains, though Kevin Bardsley has left open the possibility he might return here to look.
The Bardsleys belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have said they don't believe their God wants them to spend the remainder of their lives looking.
Roland Olsen, a 44-year-old volunteer from Magna who searched Thursday and Saturday, said the turnout likely would have been better if volunteers were looking for someone who could have been alive. But he said his effort was worth it. Olsen said he was glad to help the Bardsleys and gain search experience for the next time a child disappears in the wilderness.