A 68-year-old woman with dementia who was missing for six days was found alive in her snow-covered SUV. Authorities launched a massive search across rural areas of northern California for Paula Beth James after she was reported missing on January 9.
Authorities from multiple agencies spent over 100 hours trying to locate James. On Wednesday (January 15), officials got a break when a search helicopter flying over Butte Meadows, which is roughly 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, spotted a vehicle matching the description of James' Toyota 4Runner.
The pilot landed the helicopter nearby and officers hiked to the car, which was sitting buried in snow about 150 yards off the road. When they reached the vehicle, they were thrilled to find James was alive. She was rushed to a hospital and is in stable condition.
"It's wonderful news, and this is the outcome that we had all been hoping for," said Megan McMann, a spokeswoman for the Butte County Sheriff's Office. "Especially with a storm coming in."
Officials did not say how James' SUV ended up buried in the snow off the side of the road, or how she managed to survive for six days.