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Two teenage girls rescued in hills above Ashland

 Posted: 1:10 PM April 11, 2014

Two Eagle Point girls reported missing in Ashland Thursday night near the White Rabbit Trailhead were found by searchers this morning, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department reported.

Ashland police got a report around 8:20 p.m. that two 15-year-old girls had left the Elkader Street home of the grandmother of one of the girls. Messages they sent to friends and family indicated they were hiking into the forest on the White Rabbit Trail, an Ashland police news release said.

Officers checked the trail near the intersection of South Mountain and Ivy streets, but couldn't find the girls. Ashland called on Jackson County sheriff search teams at about 9:50 p.m., a sheriff's department news release said.

More than 30 search and rescue volunteers from Siskiyou, Josephine, Klamath and Jackson counties assisted in the search. Search and Rescue teams of hikers and dogs converged on the area to search.

At 2 this morning, the sheriff's department requested air support from the Oregon National Guard, sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said in today's news release. At 6:30 a.m., a Lakota helicopter arrived to help with the search.

The sheriff's department's helicopter also started searching this morning and at 7:30 a.m. its crew spotted the girls in the hills just above Southern Oregon University. Medics were immediately dropped in to began assessing the girls' medical needs and provide help so the teens could be taken by all-terrain vehicles to waiting ambulances.

Ambulances took them to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. One girl was listed in critical condition and the other was described as "stable," Ashland police reported.

Friends and family had received farewell messages from the girls, leading them to believe the teens could be suicidal, Ashland police said.

Anyone who feels suicidal or knows someone who is can get help 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by phoning the Jackson County Mental Health Crisis Line at 541-774-8201.

— Anita Burke

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