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Kevin and Heidi Bardsley say their 12-year-old son Garrett was the light-hearted one of the family and very close to his brothers and sister. Kevin took Garrett and Garrett's older brother Cameron on a Boy Scout overnight campout. It was an ideal morning, father and son fishing together, until Garrett slipped on a rock and got his feet wet. Garrett decided to walk back to camp by himself, just 150 yards away, so he could warm up. That was the last time Kevin saw his son.

After thousands of volunteers searched for Garrett in the woods, the official search was called off nine days after he was reported missing. Even though there is snow on the mountains now, Kevin continues to search, trying to get closure.

Last year, before the tragedy, the family decided to forego Christmas presents and do a humanitarian project in Mexico instead. Garrett, according to his family, loved the experience most of all. This holiday season, the family will travel to Ecuador and build a school in Garrett's name.

"Garrett loved it a lot last year when we went to Mexico," Kevin says. "When we came home, he said, 'Dad, can you sell your business, and we can just go down and live in a tent and help these people all the time?' I mean, that's how much he loved it. He was looking forward to going to Ecuador to work. We never thought we'd be building a school [in his name] at this time."
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FROM: When You Accidentally Kill Someone
Published on November 11, 2004

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