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Josiah Kelly Safely Located After Three-Day Search

Updated 03/03/2021 at 4 p.m. 

Josiah Kelly, who was last seen in Unalaska on Feb. 27, was safely located Wednesday after a three-day search, according to the Department of Public Safety. 

Kelly was found walking at the end of Captains Bay Road.

"I found out probably less than an hour ago that they had sent up a drone, and the drone spotted him walking back towards town," Susan Kelly — Josiah Kelly's mom — told KUCB Wednesday afternoon from her home in Pennsylvania. "They went and picked him up, and he's on his way back towards town, and he's supposed to call me as soon as he gets back." 

Kelly was "soaking wet and cold" when officers found him, but refused medical treatment, according to Fire Chief Patrick Shipp. 

Unalaska officials have issued three emergency Nixle alerts since Saturday due to inclement weather, including a blizzard warning for Tuesday. 

"The weather situation that was going on since the time he was reported missing was atrocious," Shipp said. "There could not have been a better outcome. It was some of the worst weather we've had lately, and we're glad he's back."

Susan Kelly said officials told her that her son was "physically fine," but she had not received any more detailed information on his condition as of Wednesday afternoon. 

"We're just rejoicing and so thankful to God," Kelly said. "We were so worried. We really didn't have a good feeling about this. So we're absolutely thrilled that he's okay, and just so thankful to Pastor John Honan, and Sergeant Bliss and all the people that looked for him — they were so kind to us and kept us informed, and we're just thrilled with this outcome."

Josiah Kelly got a job on a fishing vessel back in May of 2019, according to his mother. She said he's been on the island for at least a year.

Hope McKenney is a public radio news director, reporter, producer and host based in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.