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Woman Who Vanished Weeks Ago And Was Found Clinging To Tree Now Missing For Second Time
Gayle Stewart, 64, who had traveled to southeastern Nevada to take photos of Lake Mead National Recreation Area outside Las Vegas, was last seen on March 14, officials said.
A Nevada woman who went missing last month and was later found clinging to a tree on a steep slope has vanished again, officials said.
Gayle Stewart, 64, who disappeared on Valentines Day while hiking a backcountry area near Reno, has disappeared for the second time in just over a month. Authorities say that this time Stewart disappeared while snapping photos in a national recreation area more than 400 miles from her home in Reno.
With few clues to work with, parks officials are now frantically attempting to locate the missing woman more than a week after she disappeared.
Stewart was last seen on March 14 in the Bypass Bridge parking area of Lake Mead National Recreation Area near the Hoover Dam in southeastern Nevada, roughly a 30-minute drive east of Las Vegas.
“Stewart had traveled to the area to take photographs and did not return to her vehicle,” the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch said in a statement on Thursday. “She did not have her phone or any identification on her at the time.”
On Feb. 14, the 64-year-old Nevada mother was reported missing after she had embarked on a hike in the woods near Alum Creek, a popular area for outdoor enthusiasts along the Truckee River, about three miles southwest of downtown Reno.
Stewart, who somehow hurt herself while hiking, and found herself stuck in a mountainous area, was later saved after a family friend found her hanging onto a tree.
“A friend of the son found her injured and stranded on a steep slope,” Reno Fire Department, who assisted in search and rescue operations and helped extract the woman, said in a statement on Feb. 15.
In a series of harrowing images shared by Reno firefighters last month, rescue workers, clad in reflective gear, could be seen scaling the steep forest ridge in the glare of flood lights in their attempts to reach Stewart.
“That rescue was extremely hazardous,” Dave Cochran, the fire chief for the Reno Fire Department told Oxygen.com. “She was on the side of a very steep slope in frigid weather conditions and at night.”
Cochran, who described the incline as a “rocky” and “unstable,” said the Stewart’s extraction off the wooded slope was treacherous for both her and rescue teams.
“You don’t know what the footing is going to be like,” Cochran added. “The potential for further injury to her or the rescuers, frankly, was high. The team we put out there did a tremendous job. They had her secured and off the side of that mountain in less than 30 minutes.”
Officials didn’t elaborate on the extent of her injuries at the time. However, she could be seen wrapped in blankets being lowered off the slope on a stretcher, which was attached to several bungee cords.
The Reno fire chief said he and his department were praying that Stewart’s disappearance this time around also had a happy ending.
“We’ll cross our fingers,” Cochran said.
Stewart is described as having blonde hair, blue eyes. She’s estimated to be five-feet and eight inches tall and weigh approximately125 pounds. She was last seen wearing a black long sleeve shirt, black leggings, and black shoes.
U.S. Park Rangers are also assisting special agents with the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch in their efforts to locate Stewart. As the days pass, officials have since turned to the public and those who visited the national recreation area around the time she vanished, in a desperate attempt to locate the missing woman.
“Though no further details for this ongoing missing person investigation are available at this time, information from other visitors is often very helpful to investigators,” officials added.
A spokesperson for the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch wasn’t immediately available for comment regarding the open missing person’s case when contacted by Oxygen.com on Wednesday morning.
Anyone with additional information is urged to call or text the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch anonymous tip line at 888-653-0009.