I am Travis Mitchell’s grandfather and I would like to take this opportunity for our entire family to thank the entire Payson community for their help, prayers and support during the worst day of our lives.
Finding Travis was truly a miracle. I was just getting into that miracle on Wednesday when I received word of a second miracle. My sister passed away after 17 months after being in and out of intensive care and I count that as a miracle as well. I had to travel to Atlanta for her services and every time I said I was from Arizona I was asked if I knew anything about the missing 4-year-old.
Because of my trip, I missed the family party for Travis on Sunday. We would like to thank Walmart for the excellent cakes they provided for Travis’ party, which were decorated with, boulders, trees, horses, airplanes and helicopters.
It is totally out of character for Travis to venture out on his own and we are still not sure why he went away from the houses and did not turn back. It does not appear that he thought of himself as lost.
I have watched all of the interviews and have picked out some important comments from Travis. He was asked if he went to sleep and his answer was that he did not have a blanket and if he were to lie down he would get cold, so he kept on walking. When asked if he was afraid he said, “No. He was worried (he thought his 10-year-old brother Alex was lost).” He was asked if he saw any animals and his answer was that he saw a reindeer (this was most likely an elk). He said he lost one of his sandals and could not find it in the dark, so he waited there until it was light enough to find it before moving on. When found he asked how they knew his name. When Mr. Kindall called in to say they had found “the lost child” Travis responded “I am not a lost child.”
There are so many people to thank and I hope Joan and I have not missed anyone or group. First there is the Payson Police Department which was very quick to respond to the 911 call, the Payson Fire Department, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, DPS, all of the search and rescue teams, the helicopter search team, the Payson and Children’s Hospitals, the news media, and most of all the coming together of the Payson community and all the volunteers that turned out to help and support us.
Don and Joan Mitchell