Family of missing teen in Smokies speaks about week-long GSMNP search

Austin Bohanan (source: family)

TOWNSEND (WATE) – The search continues in a remote back-country area of the Smoky Mountains National Park in a 6,700 acre search for a missing Blount County teen.

It’s been a week since Austin Bohanan was last seen.

Starting Saturday, teams of 40 trained individuals from five different rescue groups including, the National Park Service, Backcountry Unit Search and Rescue (BUSAR), Blount Special Operations Response Team (BSORT), Blount County Rescue Squad, and Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, entered the search.

These trained individuals are separated into seven teams working in the southwest corner of the park near Chilhowee Lake, according to a GSMNP statement.

Bohanan disappeared on Friday while hiking with his stepfather but was not reported missing until Sunday night. Some family members, like his aunt, Carrie Bohanan, did not know why.

“At first, you know, of course we’re furious. We’re upset. How could that happen? I guess just more frustrated beyond belief, because it just doesn’t happen to your family. We’ve come to the realization that, yes we’re still angry but our focus is him. And that’s where it should be.” said Carrie. 

Carrie says the family has one focus: bringing Bohanan home. She says he planned to enter the Marines in September. He graduated from William Blount high school in December.

“You know that you would do anything and everything for your child. Knowing that he is up there in the terrain that’s extremely rough and rugged is very hard.” said Carrie Bohanan, Austin’s aunt on his father’s side of the family. 

Carrie says the Bohanan family stays until the last searcher leaves at the end of every day, because they want to make sure those looking for their loved one aren’t hurt in the process.

“We’re just praying everyday that it’s that moment, it’s that moment. And they’re pulling out all the stops.” said Carrie. 

The Bohanan family, she says, is grateful for the searchers because they’re able to do a job her family wasn’t trained to do.

 

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