Wardens find two midcoast women missing since early last week
Two midcoast women who had been missing since last Tuesday were found safe Sunday evening near Nicatous Lake, a remote part of Hancock County about three hours away from their homes.
A Maine game warden traveling by snowmobile found 51-year-old Kimberly Pushard and 50-year-old Angela Bussell inside their red Jeep Compass on an unplowed road.
The women, who their families and police have said have intellectual disabilities and can become disoriented, got lost on their way to the Maine Mall last week and drove to Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
They were later seen on security footage throughout the week in Springfield and Lincoln, Maine.
"Their phone was dead, had been dead since Wednesday morning, shortly after they were last seen leaving Lincoln," said Maine Warden Service Lt. Dan Menard. "They had not used a credit card or anything else."
The Warden Service isn't usually involved in missing person cases, Menard said, but the agency joined the investigation once police realized that the women might be stranded away from public view. Forest rangers and game wardens expanded the search over the weekend, using aircraft, snowmobiles, trucks and a Forest Service helicopter.
A game warden traveling by snowmobile eventually found their car, which had run out of gas and had become stuck in the snow in rural East Hancock. Fresh snow had partially covered their tire tracks.
"They were only 100 yards off of a main drivable road, but once you get into those situations, you can't get your vehicle back out of them," Menard said. "But they were in an area that they were not familiar with."
The women had kept the car running to keep warm most nights, until Saturday when they got stuck. Temperatures had fallen well below zero.
"They had run out of gas just the night before we had found them," Menard said. "That was probably the reason why this ended up as it did and not something more tragic."
Both women were taken to Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln. Menard could not provide details of their conditions but said he doesn't believe they had suffered major injuries. Photos released by the Warden Service show both women smiling.