THE SEARCH FOR HALEY: An Insider's Account of the Largest Search Mission in Arkansas History. By Tim Ernst. This is the true story of six-year-old Haley Zega who got lost while hiking in one of the most remote and rugged wilderness areas in the central United States (The Buffalo River wilderness in northwest Arkansas, April, 2001). She wandered for three days and two nights, scrambled down steep slopes, waded the Buffalo River, bushwhacked through a thick jungle, made friends with a caterpillar, and may have been kept company by the spirit of a little girl who had been murdered long ago.
This is a story of courage, of hope, and of despair. It is the story of exhausted volunteers who would not give up. It is the story of a community of strangers who dropped everything and came together for a little girl they did not know.
***Original paperback book is OUT OF PRINT AND NO LONGER AVAILABLE
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Here's Haley's YouTube channel with two videos she did about her experience.
This book was discussed by physicist Dr. Russell Targ and Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove at the 33-minute mark of this utube interview - click here.
Here's a utube piece (click here) with Haley speaking to the reporter (on the phone) for about an hour - wonderful story!
“We are going to search until we find her. Period.” —George Stowe-Rains, Search Mission Commander
“Bad news: helicopters are here. Haley is really, truly, deeply lost. My legs went numb.” —Steve Zega
"It was 3 a.m. and we began another sweep. It was dark; we would walk, feel, sense, search...the underbrush was covered with dust and pollen, and within minutes the whole line of us was profusely sneezing, coughing, and gagging...Every once in a while our hair would stand on end, and we would think the worst." —Joy Caffrey, volunteer searcher
"I had always looked at the wilderness as a beautiful and exciting place to be, a place that brought me great joy, gave me a career, and even brought my lifemate and new bride Pam to me. But now the fact that these very same wild woods might have taken the life of one so innocent was tearing my heart out. I found myself down on my knees, begging for the life of someone I had never laid eyes on. How in the world could this magical place turn so ugly?" —Tim Ernst
“I think she was about to give up—this was her last stand.” —William Jeff Villines, rescuer
“Suddenly there was laughter, there was music, and everyone felt they were part of something really, really worthwhile.” —Dr. Art Evans
"We jumped into the truck and roared off, screaming out the windows to searchers along the road that Haley had been found! I found myself laughing out loud and breathing huge, gulping breaths. I was about to see my heart and soul!” —Kelly Zega
"Haley’s journey brought hundreds of good people to a truly beautiful place. That place is inside each of us as a renewal in human spirit. It’s a place where faith in happy endings begins." —Rebecca Wood