The search for "Bretty," Lafayette's Brett Olson, was driven by classmates, neighbors, family and, in many cases, people who had never met the gregarious 20-year-old Acalanes High grad.
Hundreds of hours of volunteer time was expended in a social media search which went viral in days and and in a real-world, real-time search by people who doggedly chased every lead.
A week almost to the hour after Olson, now a theatrical arts student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was last seen on a gravel shingle outside of Chico, the river where he apparently had spent his last hours returned him.
His parents posted this message to the deflated hundreds who had searched for Olson, holding out hope that he was alive and had made his way back to town after a weekend tubing party:
"You all are our friends now. There are not words to describe how moved we have been by everything all of you have done for us. You filled us with hope and love this week which we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. the last time our son Brett was seen was about 4pm one week ago today. We are thinking that at about 4pm today, please pause and give a hug to someone close or send one to our son. May that bring each of you, and Brett, a feeling of hope, love, peace, and strength."
Patch Note: A remembrance gathering at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Acalanes will be streamed live on the web.