UPDATE: Body of missing Ontonagon County teenager with autism found; GoFundMe set up to assist family

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Published: Apr. 24, 2021 at 10:35 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2021 at 1:00 PM EDT
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PAULDING, Mich. (WLUC) - UPDATE Tuesday, April 27, 1:00 p.m. eastern: A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family of 17-year-old Cam Besonen.

Cam’s mother, Jill Keeley-Besonen, confirmed the GoFundMe was set up be a friend of the family. If you would like to donate, click here.

Cam’s body was found Monday afternoon, following ongoing searches for him since Friday evening, when he went missing from his home.

Keeley-Besonen said in a Facebook post Tuesday that memorial services will be held Saturday, May 1, at the Ewen-Trout Creek School, on Airport Road in Ewen.

A viewing will be held from 10:00 a.m. eastern time until noon. The funeral service will begin at 1:00 p.m. eastern time, with those attending the funeral to have a viewing beginning at noon.

“We ask that you attend only one or the other due to COVID regulations,” Keeley-Besonen said. “...Thank you all with all of our hearts for your love for our boy and our family. WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH.”

For our Cam... we are planning his funeral. 💔💔💔Viewing will be from 10:00 a.m eastern time until noon. Funeral service...

Posted by Jill Keeley-Besonen on Tuesday, April 27, 2021

This story will be updated if any additional information or other details are released.

UPDATE Monday, April 26, 7:30 p.m. eastern: The body of a teenager who was the subject of an extensive three-day search in the woods near his Upper Michigan home has been discovered by teams who had been battling snow and sub-freezing temperatures in their attempts to locate him.

Officials with the Ontonagon County Sheriff’s Office and County Emergency Management made the announcement late Monday afternoon after notifying members of the family. The mother of 17-year-old Cam Besonen, Jill Keeley-Besonen, posted on her Facebook page:

“Cam’s body was found about an hour ago. Thank you all who participated in the search. He is with Jesus!”

During the past few days, over 400 volunteers along with local, state, tribal and federal agencies had searched for the teenager, who suffered from medical conditions which, combined with the weather, complicated the efforts. The family says Cam had severe autism.

Air operations including aircraft from the U.S. Coast Guard, Michigan State Police and Houghton Wing Civil Air Patrol were combined with ground teams who covered miles of rugged, timbered terrain since the teenager was reported missing Friday evening.

Residents and businesses from throughout the area also provided extensive support during the search and rescue mission.

“Our community mourns the loss of this young man,” said Ontonagon County Sheriff Dale Rantala. Rescuers had been committed to finding him and worked tirelessly throughout the operation. Something like this is truly heartbreaking.”

Earlier Monday, Cam’s parents sent many ‘thank yous’ to those who have volunteered to help in any way. See some of that message in the video below.

No news about our Cam. Today is a hard day, we can use all the help we can get but I’m not going to be taking any calls, just for my sanity. Pray for this family! 💕

Posted by Jill Keeley-Besonen on Monday, April 26, 2021

ORIGINAL STORY - WEEKEND: The search continues for a missing teenager with special needs. Cam Besonen, 17, is missing in the Paulding area of southern Ontonagon County.

Volunteers will meet Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. eastern time at Haight Township Hall (Maple Grove). The weather is expected to be cold with a mixture of snow and rain, so police ask everyone to dress warm.

According to the Ontonagon County Sheriff’s Office, about 500 volunteers joined the search party Sunday.

Besonen was last seen Friday, around 5:45 p.m. in Haight Township at his home. Law enforcement officials started searching Friday night. They broke it off early Saturday morning, but were back searching the Paulding area around 8:00 a.m. Saturday.

Besonen was wearing a blue long sleeve and light blue jeans. The police said his attire is not sustainable for colder weather.

There are numerous agencies involved in the search, including a K-9 unit. Superior Search and Rescue are also using drone footage to search for the missing teen.

Cam Besonen is autistic and non-verbal. The mother, Jill Keeley-Besonen, is asking for your prayers. She says Cam has no sense of direction or how to yell for help. She says a helicopter could be coming to help with the search around noon.

Police ask if you notice anything or anyone in your area, to please call 911. Inform the Ontonagon County Sheriff’s Office if you would like to join the search.

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