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Ranchos boys found after night out in wild

Nevada Appeal News Service

Three boys from the Gardnerville Ranchos were found Wednesday after they loaded up cereal and crackers, bundled up in their coats, and left home Tuesday night without telling their parents.

The missing boys prompted a countywide manhunt with about 150 volunteers and emergency services crews combing brush in Douglas County.

The sons of Heather and Todd Frias of the Ranchos, James, 11, Josh, 10, and Jacob, 8, had been missing since 7 p.m. Tuesday. They were found in good condition shortly after 1:30 p.m. Wednesday walking along Highway 88 near the California/Nevada state line.

Businessman Dave Taylor spotted the youngsters on the highway and called the sheriff’s office on a cell phone.

It appears the boys spent the night on U.S. Forest Service land just south of the Ranchos. Overnight temperatures were in the mid-teens.

Sheriff’s deputies joined forces with the Douglas County Search and Rescue and set up an initial command post at the Silver Strike bowling alley in the Ranchos.

A Nevada Air National Guard helicopter searched from the sky while personnel from Washoe County and El Dorado, Calif., joined local law enforcement and volunteers as the search expanded. The search started at 11 p.m. Tuesday.

The command post was moved to the Ranchos fire station Wednesday morning.

“They got into some kind of disagreement with their parents and disappeared,” Sheriff Ron Pierini said.

The boys took a box of Honey Combs cereal, six cans of Sierra Mist soda, Ritz crackers, two blankets and sheets, their parents said.

“I just don’t know how to react,” said Todd Frias. “I don’t know whether to blow up or try to keep it together.”

Frias, who works in Bishop, returned home after his wife contacted him about the disappearances.

“I don’t know what prompted this,” Frias said. “They may have tried to do an overnighter, but I am really worried.”

Frias said he and his boys frequently ride dirt bikes in the hills behind the Ranchos, near Bing’s Pit. He said the boys are outdoor types and know how to camp.

“The scary part is, they’re 8, 10 and 11,” sheriff’s Chief Deputy Bob Rudnick said.

“From all indications, it appears they went out a window.”

Rudnick said it is too early to tell how much the search cost or who, if anyone, will be billed.