Karolin Jappe

Karolin Jappe, emergency manager for McKenzie County, N.D., has been constantly talking and working with others, while trying to find Ira David Lawrence.

Karolin Jappe is used to emergencies. It is in her job description, but she said nobody ever gets prepared for something devastating and heartbreaking like this.

“I’m a grandma of 10, and I can’t imagine losing one of my grandkids you know. So, to bring closure, you have to find the body.”

Jappe is part of a search that includes different people from different counties, all in an effort to find Ira David Lawrence, the 13-year-old boy who was reported missing after swimming in the Yellowstone River.

Richland Park, the headquarters for the search operation, was filled with cars of people who came to help in any way they could.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Office is actively working during the search. Businesses from Sidney and other towns have donated food and drinks and supplies, and the Community Emergency Response Team from Watford City, N.D., where Lawrence is from, is at Richland Park helping out.

Jappe, the McKenzie County (North Dakota) Emergency Manager, said she got the call about the search the night of September 6 and has been working non-stop since.

“Whenever that child does surface, if we’re not right there, we don’t know how long that child’s going to be up, before he goes back down. Right now’s the prime time, so we’re really hustling,” Jappe said.

She said that so far, teams have searched up and down the banks of the river, and cadavre dogs were sent out on the water to see if they could spot anything.

Jappe said she has been sort of a liaison throughout the process, contacting different people and helping to plan things. As emergency manager, she also helps bring resources to the site of the emergency.

All of it, though, is in the effort to find Lawrence as soon as possible. As Jappe said there is a wonderful family that they are trying to help, so that this does not drag on for the family — since it is so painful.

A lot of the search help is coming from citizens who wanted to donate their time.

In some cases, people showed up with their boats in-tow, and they went out on the river in their boats or kayaks to offer as much help as possible.

Others have been helping by serving food and drinks, which is what Kristine Medeiros could be seen doing Tuesday, September 8 at Richland Park.

Medeiros is from Watford City and was helping the Community Emergency Response team with everything it is doing.

She said it is always amazing to see people and communities come together in times like this to help each other.

Jappe said that from her experience, it is normal for McKenzie County residents to come together like this.

“I have a community that comes together like glue,” Jappe said.

Medeiros added that it is tragic to see something like this happen.

“To have someone so young, someone you know, it’s hard. It’s really hard. They’re our future generation. It’s just hard,” Medeiros said.

Medeiros added that she spoke to members of the family, and they were appreciative of all the people and communities that came together to help.

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