Boy Scout Jared Ropelato Found in Utah Wilderness

PHOTO: Boy Scout Jared Ropelato, 12, Missing in Utahs Ashley National Forest
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Boy Scout Jared Ropelato, who disappeared Friday in Utah's Ashley National Forest, used was found today about five miles from where he went missing, the local sheriff announced.

Jared, 12, was found by searchers on ATV's near the head gate to Long's Park canal, according to a statement from the Daggett County Sheriff's Office.

Despite being lost in the rough terrain for more than 20 hours, Jared was found to be in good health by EMTs who examined him at the search command post.

The resourceful Boy Scout built himself a lean-to to sleep in and and help himself stay warm when temperatures dipped into the 40s overnight, sheriff's office spokeswoman Karen Peterson said.

Jared told ABC News he'd learned a few tricks that helped him get through his ordeal -- including digging a hole and covering himself with dirt to preserve his body heat.

"When I went to scout camp they said we'd stay warm in it," he said. "And we'd be able to warm and put the dirt back over you."

The Hooper, Utah, boy went missing around noon on Friday after separating from his troop during a fishing trip in a wooded area near Daggett Lake and Spirit Lake, officials said.

"At some point, he either went to get some lures or wandered away from the lake," Peterson told ABC News Radio earlier today, "and they discovered him missing around 12."

After 20 or more searchers scoured the area accessible only on foot or by horseback for much of the day Friday, searchers got back at it early today.

Late into the night, searchers hunted for any sign of Ropelato.

As afternoon turned into night, his anxious parents worried he might not be prepared for a night alone in the woods -- no backpack, no warm clothes, just his early scout training.

"We don't go very much with him to the outdoors," said his father, Larry Ropelato, "so he's not real familiar."

However, Jared is the youngest of five brothers, all dedicated to scouting. The four oldest are Eagle Scouts.

"I know he knows all the scout laws," said Dawn Ropelato, Jared's mother. "I hope that as he realized he was lost that he was smart enough to think about the things he's been taught."

She said her son probably was "probably pretty sad and scared. But I also believe that he does know to pray and he does believe in a father in Heaven."

Receiving the good news today was overwhelming, she said.

"It was just the best feeling ever," she said. "Seriously the best feeling I've ever experienced. Ever."

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