“Doctor Alison Stone dangled five hundred feet above the limestone canyons of Big Bend National Park, her harness secured to the bottom of a Bell Ranger helicopter. The roar from the engines was deafening, but with countless long line exercises to her credit Ali’s concern was not for the din from the ship overhead but instead for the boy who’d been discovered in the small clearing below. As they approached she kept her eyes on the motionless figure praying this mission would end in a patient rescue and not a victim recovery. Her heartbeat was normal, her hands steady where they clutched the basket litter to secure it in the sixty mile per hour wind wash from the props. She had complete faith in her crew, certain Harry and Sid would deposit her gently on the rocky ledge and then return when she called for pick up.
The search for fifteen-year-old Ethan Lamar had gone on for three days. Three days. Seventy two hours with the diamondbacks, bobcats and coyotes was a minor survival exercise for a normal hiker. For a boy with Aspergers Syndrome, being without supervision could be a death sentence. A tragic outcome she knew only too well.”