Franklin County Idaho Sheriffs Office:
“Sadly we found the body of the missing hiker, Bailand Johnson, in the Cub River. It appears he fell in and drowned. Our hearts are heavy with sympathy for the family and friends. We appreciate the compassion from our community and all the volunteers who showed up and were turned away so they wouldn’t interfere with the Search dogs. We also appreciate our Search and Rescue and Cache County Search and Rescue, the Utah Search and Rescue dogs that assisted and the air support we received both from the military and private citizens. We wish everyone a safe and peaceful Memorial weekend!”
I first met this incredible young man when he and his uncle, my dear friend Todd Johnson came all the way down from Preston, Idaho just to pick me up and drive straight back to go ice fishing because I had mentioned to Todd that I would like to ice fish someday.
That is also the first time I met Bailand’s father, Dorian Johnson. We became instant friends. In fact he played a great practical joke on me before even meeting me. Todd, Dorian and Bailand; great friends and wonderful people. They love to tease relentlessly. It didn’t take long for Bailand to join in and throw a few jabs.
The trip was great. When it was time to go fishing, Bailand loaded all of the gear behind a four wheeler and made two trips down to the lake. He didn’t want or ask for help, he just went out and did the work. I know it was only ice fishing, but I would learn that this was who he was. Kind, humble, loving, charitable, sarcastic (definitely hereditary), and funny.
While out on the ice, Todd, Dorian and Bailand made sure I was as warm and comfortable as possible. Bailand kept checking with me to make sure I was doing ok and helped teach me how to use the fish finder, instead of just fishing himself like so many other teens would have done.
The three of us exchanged sarcastic barbs all day. Dorian and Bailand set up Todd for a harmless joke about Pineview Reservoir, a place in Utah where Todd hates to fish. We still tease about the reservoir. In fact, when I asked Dorian for permission to write this tribute, he said it would be ok but not to mention Pineview. Sorry, Dorian, I couldn’t do it.
As I got to know Bailand better, I discovered he was the real deal. The genuine article. A great human being, son, nephew, grandson and friend. I love you, Bailand. You will be missed.
I’ll leave you with his father, Dorian’s words.
“It is the hardest thing to hear when someone tells you that you have lost a child and I really have no idea how to start a post like this. Is with the heaviest of hearts that we found out this morning that I lost my oldest son in a drowning accident . Words will never begin to say the love, respect and adoration that I have for him. He is my favorite Bailand in the whole wide world and always will be. I don’t know what I ever did so right to be blessed to be his dad. I have had so many people stop me and tell me stories about how he helped their son or daughter through different situations. This is one of the greatest compliments I have received as a dad.
Even if he was not my son, I can honestly say He will always be one of the most respectful, kind hearted, compassionate and loving people I have ever been around. He lived by two mottos. One was “It doesn’t matter what somebody does or says to me, it’s how I treat them.” The second one was, “Everyone deserves at least one friend. If I am not their friend, they may not have any friends at all.”
I also want to say thank you to Dave Fryar, the county deputies, and all of the search and rescue volunteers who worked tirelessly from about 2:30 a.m on Friday until this afternoon after he was found. 11 different agencies were called in to help including a life flight and an Air Force helicopter. Thank you to those dog handlers from Utah who brought in the dogs that found him.