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GoFundMe page set up for family of Ontonagon County boy

PAULDING — The family of an Ontonagon County boy whose body was found Monday after a three-day search announced funeral arrangements for this weekend, while friends have set up an online fundraiser for the family.

Cam Besonen’s mother, Jill Keeley-Besonen, confirmed the authenticity of the “Help Cams Family” GoFundMe page in a Facebook message Tuesday afternoon.

Organized by Jackie VanOss Judd and Jordan Smith, it had raised nearly $10,000 as of Tuesday afternoon, twice the $5,000 goal.

Keeley-Besonen also posted funeral arrangements on her Facebook page Tuesday. The viewing will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday; the funeral will take place at 1 p.m. at the Ewen-Trout Creek school.

Because of COVID restrictions on gatherings, the family is asking for people to attend one or the other. People who attend the funeral will be able to view Besonen at noon.

The Land O Lakes Bible School will also host a livestream of the service on its Facebook page.

“Thank you all with all of our hearts for your love for our boy and our family,” Kelley-Besonen said in a Facebook post. “WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH.”

Teams found the body of Besonen, 17, Monday afternoon, three days after he wandered away from his home Friday. Hours earlier, Besonen’s shoes had been found a mile northwest of his home.

More than 400 volunteers came out to search in freezing, snowy weather. They aided teams from local, state, tribal and federal agencies. Other residents and businesses also provided support.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Michigan State Police and Houghton Wing Civil Air Patrol provided air search when weather permitted. Besonen, who was autistic and nonverbal, was unable to yell for help or find his way, Keeley-Besonen said during the search.

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

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