GPS helps locate abandoned woman in remote area

August 22, 2012

A 34-year-old Hood County woman who called 911 to say that she had been assaulted and abandoned in a creek bed in remote southern Hood County on Saturday was found with the help of GPS technology during a search involving multiple agencies.

Sheriff Roger Deeds said that the woman, who was able enter the ambulance on her own, was treated at Lake Granbury Medical Center and released that day.

Deeds said Monday that one man and one woman, believed to be from Hood County, are being sought as “persons of interest” in connection with the case.

“It was a physical assault,” Deeds said. “I don’t know the extent of her injuries. We’re looking for two people to question in regard to this.”

Deeds said the woman had just met the two persons of interest, and that there had been a disturbance before she was “abandoned and left down in the river bed.”

She was found in a heavily wooded and brushy area that was not only muddy but also rocky. A female deputy was the first to hear her cries for help, and even then she wasn’t visible for a while longer.

“GPS really did make a difference,” Deeds said. “It narrowed it down. We still had a big job ahead of us.”

The sheriff indicated that he couldn’t reveal more because the investigation is ongoing. However, he noted that the woman later was not being cooperative with investigators.

Deeds along with four deputies, plus members of the Indian Harbor Volunteer Fire Department, Fire Marshal Brian Fine, and Game Wardens Scott Kirkpatrick of Johnson County and Joni Kuykendall of Somervell County participated in the search. Hood County Game Warden Deshanna Creager was out of the county on business.

The woman was found near the Brazos River near the Somervell County line, off of Mitchell Bend Court, Deeds said.

The Brazos River Authority also launched an air boat, but she was found before it could be used in the search, Deeds said.

“She was found based off of GPS coordinates,” Deeds said. “She stated that she was in a river bed.”

The woman told the dispatchers she did not know her location. She was barefoot, and the area is rugged and contains briars, so she remained there while the searchers moved in.

Emergency dispatch in Johnson County first received the woman’s 911 call. She was then switched to Somervell County dispatch before being connected with Hood County.

The mid-afternoon search was wrapped up just as torrential rainfall arrived. The rainstorm, which featured extreme wind gusts, forced an AirEvac medical helicopter that was assisting in the search to land.

“When we found her was pretty much when the storm hit,” Deeds said. “It could have been bad because of the rain we had in that area. It was looking like it was going to be a long afternoon.” Deeds said he estimated the area where the woman was found was hit with 3-4 inches of rain.

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