DRESDEN — Micah Thomas, who was found Thursday afternoon after he survived a night lost by himself in the woods, suffered early onset of frostbite in his toes, sore feet, an elevated heartbeat, dehydration and other health issues but is expected to make a full recovery, his family said Friday.

Micah, 12, remained at Midcoast Hospital in Brunswick as of Friday afternoon but his stepfather, Peter Thomas, said he hoped Micah would be able to come home later in the day.

Micah’s family is a grateful, relieved group following his, and their, ordeal, which ended Thursday afternoon when a man who lived nearby found Micah, cold, wet and shoeless, his feet blue and so swollen he couldn’t walk, in a marsh near the Eastern River.

“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare,” Peter Thomas said Friday of Micah disappearing after he got off the bus Wednesday afternoon.

Thomas wrote a letter in an effort to thank the dozens of people who helped search for Micah, expressing the family’s “deepest gratitude and thanks to all those involved in the search and rescue of our son.”

In the letter, Thomas described the growing sense of fear the family felt as the search went on without finding the Hall-Dale seventh-grader.

“As dawn broke and the previous night’s search proved fruitless, as the morning melted away without word, spirits began to sink,” he said. “Dark thoughts crept into our psyches. What if they don’t find him in time? Could he have taken a ride with a stranger? What happens if he has been swept away in the river? And then just after 2 p.m. Thursday, the greatest news I have ever been witness to was conveyed to my wife: Micah had been found. He was hypothermic, but he was going to be all right.”

Tim Nason isn’t a warden. Or a firefighter. Or even a close friend or neighbor of the Thomas family. He’s just a town resident who owns some land along the Eastern River in Dresden.

Thursday around noon, he volunteered to help the search and was told at the fire station, search headquarters, that he’d be contacted if searchers needed help, so he returned home. But he didn’t wait by the phone. He took to the woods of his property, walking along a six-foot-high berm along the west side of the Eastern River.

He said most searchers were scouring the eastern side of the river, based on where Micah had last been spotted, on East Pittston Road.

“I just thought I should do something,” Nason said Friday. “If it was my child, I’d want everybody out here helping in some way.”

After a long walk, he heard a hoarse voice say something like “over here.” He looked into an open marsh area, and there was Micah, in his blue sweatshirt, wet pants and bare feet.

Micah told Nason that at some point he’d taken a boat to get across the Eastern River. He said he had stepped into the water while getting out of the boat, getting wet at least up to his knees and soaking his boots.

Nason believes the boy likely spent most of the night in the marsh, which he said appeared to be a smart idea, because it is relatively open, so he’d be more visible from above.

However, even after Nason found Micah, the two apparently couldn’t get the attention of a passing airplane. Nason said they unsuccesfully tried to wave it down as it circled.

So Nason carried Micah to the berm alongside the Eastern River just as a Marine Patrol boat happened by. Thomas said a Marine Patrol officer slogged through some 75 feet of mud flats to get Micah and return him to the boat, which took him to a boat landing where he was briefly united with his parents before being taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Thomas said he plans to thank Nason personally once Micah gets home from the hospital.

“Micah kept talking about this very kind man,” Thomas said of Nason. “He’s a kind soul. I’m so glad he found him.”

Micah got off the school bus at the intersection of Eagle Lodge Road and Route 127, according to authorities, but he never showed up at his house.

Some 50 public safety workers and other people helped search for him, using dogs, airboats, a helicopter and airplane. Overnight temperatures dipped to about 25 degrees.

“We just don’t have words to thank all those agencies,” Thomas said. “And one of the things that most sticks out is the response from the Dresden community. People who didn’t go to work that day, driving the roads, pounding the hills and trying to do whatever they could to assist. So many people I don’t even know were out there. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Or, as Thomas wrote in his thank-you letter to the community, “The past 48 hours has taught us something profound about the selfless and determined nature of the human spirit. We are eternally grateful to you all.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

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