High-tech search leads police to missing Cumberland County teen

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HAMPDEN TOWNSHIP, CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. -- A high-tech search for a missing Cumberland County teenager brought a happy ending to his family and the community who helped search for him.

Max Miskin, 14, disappeared from his Hampden Township home Monday evening.

It was a frigid night out, not only for the missing teen, but for the police and rescue teams who were looking for him.

The dangerous temperature made it necessary for police to do everything they could to find a Miskin.

Miskin was last seen wearing only a sweatshirt and pants, but no shoes. With temperatures in the teens, Hampden Township Police were determined to find him with all the help they could get.

Hamiden Township Police Chief Steve Junkin said "we utilized reverse 911 calls to notify our community, and that's a technology that pushes pre-recorded phone messages out to a geographic area."

The community's eyes and ears were only one part of the search team. Officers also used tracking dogs to sniff the ground and air for clues, while crews headed out on foot.

"We used Cumberland county's team 400, which is a search and rescue team. They're the specialists in this. They know how fast someone can travel over certain types of land," Junkin said.

As other officers searched from the sky using what's called FLIR, a Forward Looking Infrared technology.

"They're able to fly up and down the Conodoguinet Creek, look through woods, pick up heat signatures, and then we use some night vision as it really got into some dark wooded areas," Junkin said.

Meanwhime, the Internet helped bring the community in on the search.

"By having that social media aspect out there, people then took it upon themselves to dress warmly, do something about it, be part of the solution , get in their car and start driving around," Junkin said.

Someone spotted the teen within about five hours after he disappeared. Police then caught up with him at a nearby convenience store.

"I was fully dressed in a full uniform, and it was bitterly cold, so we knew that with him going out there, the wind was picking up, that we had to step up on it," Junkin said.

"In the back of your mind, the clock is ticking, we know that our available time for him to return safely is dwindling, and when we heard that he had been found, it was fantastic," Junkin added.

Having spent several hours outside in the cold, paramedics and EMT's checked Miskin out to make sure he was "OK."

"As good as any 14 year old, and a lot better than I would have been if I would have been out in the woods and underdressed in 18 degree weather," Junkin said.

After crews found Miskin, Junkin said police made another round of automated phone calls to alert the community that the teen had been found.

"We wanted to be able to ensure that those people knew that there had been some resolution. We did not want them to continue to walk around or drive around possibly get hurt, or continue to call and ask for updates," Junkin said.