MONTESANO, Wash. – Four members of a Washington state family missing since Tuesday have been found walking near a store about 55 miles southwest of Seattle, authorities said Thursday.
They were found in Mason County. The sheriff’s office in neighboring Grays Harbor County, where the family lives, said deputies were on their way to meet them.
“I do not yet know the exact condition of the family other than they are alive,” Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate said in an email.
Jason and Melissa McAlister and two of their children, ages 8 months and 2 years, appeared to have left home to take a drive Tuesday while their older two children were at school, authorities had said. They didn’t return as expected to meet the older children at the bus stop.
Investigators on Tuesday evening and Wednesday searched areas the family was known to frequent, without luck, and Shumate said authorities were hoping they had just broken down somewhere.
They were found walking near a general store in Matlock, Washington, Shumate said.
The family’s home is in a rural area southwest of Seattle, about 20 miles north of the town of Montesano. They were reported missing Tuesday evening after no one showed up to meet the school bus bringing the older children, ages 5 and 7, home, Shumate said.
The family’s landlord, who also lives at the property, told authorities that he had spoken with Jason McAlister, 33, before leaving the house at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Shumate said. McAlister reportedly told him that the family planned to do some chores, then maybe go out for a drive and come back by 3 p.m.
At the time of the conversation, Melissa McAlister, 27, was still in bed, Shumate said.
Jason McAlister works as a ranch hand on the property, while Melissa McAlister works at a Walmart store.
The sheriff’s office had not been able to find an aircraft to use in the search as of Wednesday afternoon. The Washington State Patrol would have one available Thursday, he said.
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