Experienced hiker who vanished with her dog in California found alive

UPDATE: The Inyo County Sherrif’s Department says that missing hiker Sheryl Powell was found alive and taken to a local hospital, and the sherrif’s office is investigating the circumstances of her disappearance.

A Facebook post reads:

Missing hiker, Sheryl Powell was located alive by ground search team members near the Montenegro Springs area (below where her dog was located earlier today). Searchers describe her as resilient and strong but exhausted after being lost in an extremely remote area above Big Pine, CA.

Mrs Powell was met at the Bishop Airport by ambulance and will be taken to the local hospital for medical clearance.
We are beyond grateful for the continued support from her family, local residents, visitors, and the media. We also cannot thank our assisting agencies enough for their amazingly hard work in difficult terrain throughout this 4-day search.

Followed by a final update:

We’re grateful that Mrs. Powell and her dog were found alive and well. Our office is actively investigating the circumstances surrounding her disappearance- We have no further information at this time.

FINAL Update- 6:00pm- We're grateful that Mrs. Powell and her dog were found alive and well. Our office is actively…

Posted by Inyo County Sheriff's Office on Monday, July 15, 2019

Original Story:

The family of a 60-year-old woman who went missing with her dog while hiking in Southern California reportedly believes she may have been kidnapped.

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to NBC News that Sheryl Powell, 60, of Huntington Beach, California, was last seen by her husband as the pair was had arrived for a camping and hiking trip in Grandview Campsite near Bishop, California, on Friday. Powell’s husband Joe Powell reported his wife missing with their dog while he was moving their car, and searched for her for one hour before calling police via a satellite phone.

Joe Powell reportedly said he had been gone for only seven minutes when he returned from moving the car and his wife and dog were nowhere to be seen. He told NBC News that both he and his wife were avid hikers and regularly hiked two dozen miles a week.

“I came back over here and she was gone,” Powell told the news station on Sunday. “The only plausible explanation in my opinion is she was abducted.”

Multiple agencies joined the search over the weekend, reportedly using thermal imaging and aerial search methods to find the missing woman. Authorities are categorizing the search as an active investigation and an active search and rescue, according to NBC News.

Powell’s family has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for an expanded search and to help pay for a helicopter search in the event that authorities scale down the search effort. The campaign message also notes that Powell and her dog, a “4 lb black and grey yorkipoo,” had been waiting for Joe Powell at a campsite while he was moving the car and had not begun hiking yet. The campaign message continues:

“[Authorities] keep insisting she just got lost (she didn’t bring any food or water and had no plans to hike yet, they were just setting up camp) or the dog got away (she weighs 4 lbs was on a leash and has a bad leg so she can’t run). I hope they’re right but I think they should be pursuing the possibility of abduction as well. So far the criminal side of the investigation has focused on my dad and on my mom’s friends as suspects, both of which ideas are absurd. My parents have an extremely loving relationship and my dad (who has refused to leave the campsite) is on the verge of breakdown.”

Powell is described by her family as “5’2” and roughly 120 lbs with light brown shoulder length hair.”

The family has urged anyone with information to contact the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office: 760-878-0383, ext. 4.

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