As this photo was being taken on the family's hike on Mount Pinos, a faint voice was heard. The missing woman was found down a ravine, dug into a burrow in the dirt beneath a log. She was injured and dehydrated, with no food or water for three days.
Missing Woman Rescued Saturday after Being Lost since Wednesday on Mount Pinos
There is still a sense of awe in Sharla Tipton’s voice, as she tells how close her family came to not being on Mount Pinos Saturday afternoon, in exactly the right place to come to the rescue of an injured Burbank woman who had been lost since Wednesday and weakened after three days without water or food.
Tipton and her family were holding a family reunion, with grown children and two grandchildren on May 14. Coming together for the first time in four years, they decided to take a nature hike, but almost cancelled it twice because of cold weather and her husband’s sore ankle. “The kids said, no…let’s go…” so they drove up to the top parking lot (known as Chula Vista or Nordic Base).
After walking about 400 yards toward the summit, her husband decided his ankle was too sore to continue, so he said he’d wait for the others to come back. As the family was in the area, they heard a weak voice, but did not at first become alarmed. Tipton said “I just had a feeling that something wasn’t right.”
They climbed through a ravine, and daughter Spring called out, “Are you alright?” They heard the faint reply, “No. Please help or call 911.” The woman had an aluminum cane. There was dirt in her mouth. She was severely scratched and bruised over her body.
The family gathered around to help the weakened woman out of the rugged area, carrying her part way. A 911 call was made from the parking lot. Firefighters, U.S. Forest Service and ambulance personnel responded. They learned that Burbank police had been searching for 62-year-old Janeth Dretzke after she was reportedly last seen leaving her home Wednesday, May 11, at 7:30 a.m.
Tipton’s family visited Dretzke at Henry Mayo Hospital on Sunday. They were told that dehydration had caused kidney failure and that their new friend was in very bad condition, but that she will recover.
—Reported by Pam
Sturdevant and P. Hedlund.
This is part of the May 20, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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