Missing woman hiker, 60, who fled from knife-wielding assaulter found after pet dog leads rescuers to her
Sheryl Powell, an experienced hiker, managed to stay alive in the woods by drinking stagnant water and eating cactus plants
A 60-year-old California woman who vanished along with her dog on July 12 during a hiking trip near the Grandview Campground, in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest area of the White Mountains, was found alive by rescuers on Monday.
"SHES ALIVE!!! This is the happiest day of our lives. We can’t thank everyone enough!" Farrah Powell, the daughter of Sheryl Powell, wrote on Facebook. She also shared a picture of her mother in the hospital, surrounded by her well-wishers.
Sheryl, who was described by her husband, Joseph Powell, as an experienced hiker, disappeared from her recent trip along with her dog, Miley. After being unable to locate her for almost an hour, Joseph alerted the local police using his satellite phone.
The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office initially posted on their Facebook page that Miley had been located in an area about two-and-a-half miles from the area Sheryl was last seen. As an update, the department posted: "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)."
The gruesome details of the circumstances that led to his mother's disappearance were revealed via an extended Facebook post by Greg Powell, Sheryl's son. He revealed that Sheryl was forced to flee after a middle-aged, knife-wielding man tried to sexually assault her in the camping ground. "My mom was waiting for my dad to back up the Jeep when a middle-aged man with a knife came up and said 'that’s a nice shaved p***y I’ve never had me one of those... you’re gonna do what I want or I’m gonna take my knife to your dog." He then grabbed her left wrist and caused some abrasions. My mom managed to get away."
Afraid that her assaulter might be following her, Cheryl ran downhill, closely followed by her dog, to put as much distance between the man and her as possible. When she became sure that the assaulter was not following anymore, she also realized that she was lost.
"Thankfully she is strong and resilient and knew how to find water (despite no map, phone, or overt knowledge of the area). She had some stagnant water and cactus fruit to keep her going but still got dehydrated and when she could no longer walk, she scooted as far as she could," Greg said in the post.
He added that although his mother tried to leave Miley tied near the stagnant water, she refused to stay put. Breaking free from her leash, she insisted on following her owner. At the end of the day, it was Miley who came to the rescue and got herself as well as Sheryl out of the difficult situation. After helicopters flying near the region failed to notice them, despite Sheryl's frantic wave, Miley's barking eventually led emergency personnel to them.
"My mom is an amazing human being and she looks pretty good given the situation. Her first words were to us were 'I’m so sorry I put you through that you guys must have been so worried,' just proving how selfless she is," Greg said, adding that the family will be refunding all the monetary donations they received for the rescue mission as soon as possible.