UPDATE (11/9/20 11:47 a.m.): West Virginia State Police have confirmed that the missing woman has been found. No further information is available at this time.
HARPERS FERRY, W. Va. (WDVM) — It’s not unusual for a woman to take a walk with her dog near the Appalachian Trail. But red flags were raised when the family dog returned home alone…
Warren Royce is the assistant chief of Blue Ridge Mountain Fire Company. He has been organizing search parties for a 63-year-old woman who went missing on Saturday afternoon. She was last seen near her residence on Eagles Nest Lane in Harpers Ferry.
“So we’ve got multiple volunteers, multiple agencies out trying to locate her behind the wooden area behind her residence. we left at 3 AM [Sunday morning] and the state police had us back this morning between 9, 10 o’clock so we’ve been here since about 9, 10 o’clock this morning.”
West Virginia State Police is leading the investigation and has called upon crews from the surrounding areas like Washington and Frederick Counties as well as the National Parks Service.
Eric Sheetz is a law enforcement park ranger for the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. He explained that while this search and rescue operation is based on the West Virginia side of the Appalachian Train, the National Parks Service has rangers from the Blackburn Train Center searching the area on the Virginia side of the trail. He also explained that Maryland State Police has also been scanning the area with FLIR infrared drones in an effort to locate the missing woman.
“We’ve contacted even the United States Park Police to possibly get Eagle 1 and Eagle 2 helicopters up. Maryland State Police had a helicopter up.”
Community members have also aided in the search, working alongside State Police, fire and rescue, and K-9 units. Assistant Chief Royce stated that at least 160 volunteers have gone out to search for the missing woman since she went missing on Saturday night. He also went on explain that for every search party that was deployed, there was at least one or two professional firefighters or medically trained personnel to administer first aid or help an injured volunteer.
Sergeant Robert Sell of the Jefferson County sheriff’s Department was on the scene to aid with search and rescue efforts. He stressed that he is grateful for the community’s support of the search and rescue operation.
“We’ve had a tremendous outpouring of community support from the mountain area but also Washington County, Frederick County, Maryland for fire and EMS. A lot of people coming out with K-9 dogs that are certified, ATVs, anything that they can do to help us search this terrain for the missing person.”
Nicole Rainey volunteered to help comb the area for the missing woman on Sunday after hearing about the incident on Saturday night. She stated that she waited to hear whether or not they would be needing volunteers that night but came as soon as she heard volunteers were needed in the morning.
“I think there was a big outcry of support, people asking for help to come up and try and find her. You know, with her age and being out, and it’s really treacherous terrain. I just think that everyone is truly interested in getting her home safe and anything that we could do to help.”
At approximately 3 PM on Sunday, a K-9 sniffer dog found a shoe in the area where the woman went missing, however, this incident is still under investigation.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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