LASSEN COUNTY, Calif (KTXL) — The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office says it found a woman who had been stranded in the snow for six days.
On Monday April 18, Justin Lonich, 48, reported that he and Sheena Gullett, 52, were driving on dirt roads off of Highway 44 during harsh weather conditions.
After driving for several miles, their vehicle became stuck in the snow. The two spent a night in their vehicle, the next morning they say they noticed their vehicle’s battery had died.
According to Lieutenant Dave Woginrich, the two attempted to walk back to Highway 44. Gullett, however, fell behind after the soles of her boots had worn out and the two got separated in the snow not long after.
Lonich tried to find Gullett but the heavy snowfall prevented him from doing so, eventually finding shelters and starting campfires for the next couple days.
On Sunday, Lonich reached Highway 44 and hitched a ride into Susanville from a passerby.
Lonich then reported his experience to the sheriff’s office, telling them that Gullett was possibly stranded in the forest with their vehicle.
Details of the incident made it hard for officials to narrow down a search area because Lonich was unfamiliar with the area and roads they traveled.
Sheriff’s deputies, sergeants, detectives, and US Forest Service personnel conducted ground searches.
When the weather cleared California Highway Patrol flew a helicopter over the search area in coordination with the ground team. More searches from the air couldn’t be performed due to inclement weather.
In the late morning of Wednesday April 20, Lonich and a Sheriff’s deputy along with two US Forest Service personnel and sheriff’s sergeant split up and covered several dirt roads near the area where Gullett became stuck in the snow.
After several hours a Sheriff’s sergeant located Gullett..
Searchers say Gullet appeared to have no injuries and was sent to Bogard Ranger Station to be further evaluated by medical personnel.
Gullet survived the six days by rationing a six-pack of yogurt, eating one each day while also eating snow since she had no water.
Gullet had seen the helicopter fly by earlier but was in a heavily wooded area so they were unable to see her.
The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office Command Staff commends the efforts of everyone involved in the search and stated that Gullet has returned home safely.