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California woman who disappeared during camping trip found alive

Missing hiker Sheryl Powell was found alive by ground search team members near the Montenegro Springs area Monday afternoon.
Sheryl Powell
Sheryl Powell went missing Friday while on a camping trip with her husband in central California.
/ Source: TODAY

Update: Missing hiker Sheryl Powell was found alive by ground search team members near the Montenegro Springs area Monday afternoon, according to a post on the Inyo County Sheriff's Office's Facebook page. "Searchers describe her as resilient and strong but exhausted after being lost in an extremely remote area above Big Pine, CA," the statement added. Powell was taken in an ambulance to the local hospital. See the full story here.


A desperate search is underway for a woman who went missing during a camping trip on Friday.

Sheryl Powell, 60, was last seen by her husband, Joe Powell, at their remote campsite in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in central California.

Powell, her husband of 40 years, said both she and their dog, Miley, disappeared while he was turning their Jeep around to set up camp for the weekend.

"I was gone no more between five to seven minutes and when I came back over here, she was gone,” he said. “I’ve been through this a million times in my mind. How could somebody disappear like that?”

After searching for his wife on his own for more than an hour, he called authorities using a satellite phone to report her as missing.

Now, a massive search and rescue operation is underway, with crews searching the area on the ground and by air. However, there is still no trace of her.

Sheryl Powell
Both Powell and their dog, Miley, went missing. Inyo County Sheriff's Office

“If she had an injury, if she had fallen, if she had bumped her head we would have found her by now,” her husband said.

Her son, Greg Powell, added that there have been no major leads in the search.

“They questioned some people in the area and they got some gas station footage, but I just don't know what else is being done from that standpoint,” he said.

Sheryl Powell
Friends describe Powell as an experienced hiker and camper.Inyo County Sheriff's Office

Sheryl Powell is apparently an experienced hiker with a good sense of direction, and she and her husband often spend weekends hiking and camping.

Her children suspect foul play in her disappearance.

"We think that the likelihood of her being abducted by somebody else is very high," her son said.

Authorities say that at this point, they don’t have any evidence to point directly to criminal activity, and Joe Powell has been ruled out as a suspect.

Sheryl Powell
Her children suspect foul play in her disappearance.

“They're just the model of what a perfect marriage and relationship should be, so you know, they obviously are not pursuing that part of the investigation,” said Greg Powell.

In the meantime, the search continues, with drones using satellite thermal imaging to comb the rugged terrain around where she disappeared.

The family is also asking people to reach out to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, as well as the local sheriff’s office, to request more funds for the search.

“I don't understand any part of it, I'm destroyed personally,” Joe Powell said. “I'm trying to stay strong over here because that's what I have to do right now."