Sunday, 16 June 2024

Maxwell woman found safe after going missing on hike

LAKE COUNTY – A Maxwell woman who was reported missing after leaving for a hike in Lake County Monday night has been found safe.

Kathy Jones, 57, was found unharmed but thirsty shortly before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday after Lake County Sheriff's deputies and Cal Fire personnel launched a search for her, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Bauman said that shortly before 5 a.m. Tuesday Jones' husband reported that she had not returned from a hike that she'd left to take the evening before.

Jones reportedly left her Maxwell home at about 5:30 p.m. Monday to go for a hike in the Wilbur Springs area of Lake County, near Highway 20 about two miles from the Colusa County line, but had failed to return, Bauman reported.

When deputies responded on Tuesday morning to the area where Jones was reported to have gone hiking, Bauman said they found her vehicle parked and unoccupied off of the highway in the area of the Lake/Colusa County line.

Bauman said one of the sheriff’s Search and Rescue coordinators, who happened to be working a regular patrol shift at the time, responded to the area and began coordinating other resources from Cal Fire to assist with the search for Jones.

Deputies teamed up with Cal Fire personnel to start a ground search of the area while a Cal Fire helicopter dispatched out of Boggs Forest began searching from the air, according to Bauman's reported.

At about 7:20 a.m. Jones was located by the Cal Fire helicopter in the wilderness. Bauman said she was was loaded into the helicopter and transported to a field command post in the Wilbur Hot Springs area where she met with deputies.

Bauman said Jones told deputies that she and her husband often hiked in the area together but she was unaccustomed to hiking in the dark.

On Monday evening she decided to do a solo hike so she drove to the area and parked her car off of the highway. Bauman said she reported hiking into the wilderness on a fire road but as darkness fell, she became disoriented and her cell phone battery died.

Jones was equipped with a flashlight and GPS device but as night came, she decided to bed down with a space blanket she had and wait for morning to proceed any further, Bauman said.

On Tuesday morning, Bauman said Jones started looking for access back to the highway and then when she heard the Cal Fire helicopter flying overhead in the area, she suspected they were looking for her and managed to flag the aircraft down.

Bauman said Jones was transported by ground back to her car on the highway and after ensuring her condition was satisfactory, she was released to return to her Maxwell home on her own.

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