California camper found alive 4 days after vanishing in ‘extremely remote’ area

INYO COUNTY, Calif. – A woman who vanished four days ago while camping with her husband in a remote area in Southern California has been found alive, officials said Monday afternoon.

Sheryl Powell, 60, was located near the Montenegro Springs area of Inyo County, below where her dog she went missing with was found hours before, in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Inyo County sheriff's officials said in a news release.

Rescuers described her as "resilient and strong but exhausted after being lost in an extremely remote area" within the national forest east of Bishop, authorities said.

She was being taken to a nearby hospital for medical clearance.

Just two and a half hours before, search crews announced they had found Powell's 4-pound Yorkie-poo about 2 1/2 miles from where she disappeared.

Powell disappeared with her dog Miley after taking out the pet while her husband moved their Jeep near their remote campsite in the Bristlecone Pine Forest area, according to the Sheriff's Office.

"This took 5 minutes or less but when he got back she and Miley were gone without a trace," the couple's daughter, Farrah Powell, wrote on a GoFundMe page set up on Saturday to help "with funding for helicopter search in the event the search becomes scaled-down, which they did say would happen."

After parking their car, Powell's husband spent about one hour looking before calling authorities from the Grandview Campground at around 2 p.m. Friday, the Sheriff's Office said.

The incident drew help from search and rescue teams from across California, including ground and aerial units equipped with a thermal imaging device, the agency said.

The family had said they suspected a "high likelihood of abduction which many rescue personnel are skeptical of," Farrah Powell said on GoFundMe.

"They 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)," Farrah Powell wrote. "I hope they’re right but I think they should be pursuing the possibility of abduction as well."

It's still unclear how the woman became lost while near her campsite. Officials described Powell as an experienced hiker.

Farrah Powell said her father refused to leave the campsite after his wife disappeared and was "on the verge of breakdown."

On Monday, the sheriff's office said investigators don't suspect any link to Powell's husband.

"They have been married for 42 years," Farrah Powell said of her parents in a Facebook post. "They love each other, they love my brother and me, and they love the outdoors."

One of the couple's friends, Lorie Geery, told KTLA Joe was easing into retirement, "and I can’t imagine either one of them wanting to go through the rest of their life alone."

The family was "extremely cooperative" in the investigation, the Sheriff's Office said.

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