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

Micah, 12, remained at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick on Friday afternoon but his stepfather, Peter Thomas, said he hoped Micah would be able to go home later in the day.

The boy’s family was grateful and relieved after his, and their, ordeal, which ended Thursday 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’s disappearance after he got off the school bus Wednesday afternoon.

Thomas wrote a letter to thank the dozens of people who helped search for Micah.

In the letter, Thomas described the growing fear the family felt as the search went on for the 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, who owns land along the Eastern River in Dresden, volunteered around noon Thursday to help in the search. He was told at the fire station, search headquarters, that he would 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 6-foot-tall berm along the west side of the Eastern River.

He said most searchers were scouring the east side of the river, based on where Micah had last been seen, 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 had taken a boat 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 appeared to be a smart idea because it is relatively open, so he would be more visible from above.

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

So Nason carried Micah to the berm alongside the river just as a Marine Patrol boat came. Thomas said a Marine Patrol officer slogged through 75 feet of mud flats to get Micah and return him to the boat, which took him to a 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, authorities say, but never showed up at his house.

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

“One of the things that most sticks out is the response from the Dresden community,” Thomas said. “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.”

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Keith Edwards can be contacted at 621-5647 or at:

kedwards@centralmaine.com