Missing woman found safe

Published 12:01 am Sunday, August 18, 2013

A 32-year-old South Shore woman, reported missing early Saturday morning in Hanging Rock, was found safe hours later at a friend’s house in Portmouth.

Now the Lawrence County Prosecutor will be asked to review the case to see if charges should be filed against the couple the woman was with.

At 12:30 a.m. Saturday an Ohio State Highway Patrol officer was approached by a couple in a car at the State Route 650 exit on U.S. 52, claiming their friend who had been in the vehicle was missing. All three had been at the Rally on the River.

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The pair, a 19-year-old man and a 25-year-old, said the woman had gotten out of the car to use the bathroom by the side of the road.

“She jumped over the guardrail and they never saw her again,” Sgt. Chris Smith of the OSHP, said the pair told the officer. “Officers at that time checked the area with no success.”

From 12:30 until 5 a.m. officers with a tracking dog conducted a foot search along the highway and took statements from the man and woman.

“Not until daylight was there a real search with all the fire departments,” Smith said.

Joining the OSHP were firefighters from Ironton, Upper, Coal Grove and Elizabeth Township fire departments as well as Ironton Police.

“They were checking local campgrounds and units going up and down the highway,” Smith said.

A search and rescue plane from Columbus was called to the scene.

“It did a pretty lengthy flyover to check the area,” Smith said.

Since all three were from South Shore, Kentucky State Police was called in and officers learned of a house in Portsmouth where they all were staying.

The Lawrence County search was called off at 10:10 a.m. and the woman was discovered safe at the house about 30 minutes later. She had been picked up by a passing motorist and taken to the Portsmouth location.

“She woke up and figured people were looking for her,” Smith said. “There was a possible dispute between her and another person and when she got out to use the bathroom, they took off on her. There are conflicting stories and we are sending all reports to the prosecutor’s office to review.”