Lifestyle & Human Interest

After 5-Day Search, Man Refuses to Give Up, Finally Finds Missing Grandma Clinging to Life in Woods


They say the first 72 hours in a missing person case are the most crucial. With every passing minute, the likelihood of finding a lost person decreases.

After five days, some may start preparing to surrender all hope. However, this story about a missing North Carolina woman might remind you to never give up, even when all seems lost.

When relatives arrived at Sandra Adams’ apartment in west Charlotte, North Carolina, she was nowhere to be found.

This behavior was uncharacteristic for 69-year-old Adams, who took frequent walks around her apartment building but knew her way back home. She’d last been spotted on Wednesday, and it was already Friday when she was reported missing.

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By Monday, Adams’ family had received no news regarding her whereabouts. Her grandson, Nate Cassell, refused to stop searching.

Aware it was a long shot, Cassell wanted to search for his grandmother in the woods behind her apartment complex.

“He wanted to go look in the woods. I woke up this morning with the same idea: Let’s go search the woods in the neighborhood,” Shawn Willis, Cassell’s friend, told WSOC-TV.

The pair hiked a quarter of a mile in the humidity through the dense woods before stumbling upon Adams, lying face-down in a creek. The scene didn’t look good. Cassell and Wilis phoned the police, and officer Brian Nicholson arrived on the heartbreaking scene.

Just when all hope seemed officially lost, a miracle happened.

“As we were coming toward her, she raised her arm up,” Nicholson said.

“We were amazed,” Willis said. “We called for MEDIC, you know?”

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After recovering, Adams revealed she had fallen on one of her walks. How she was able to survive in the woods for five days remains a mystery, but her grandson credits God for helping him locate his beloved grandmother.

“Thank You All For Your Prayer’s!!! We Found My Grandmother.. I Really Mean That!!! She Is Alive… Thank You God,” Cassell posted to Facebook.

Cassell is also thankful to have such a strong woman and role model in his family.

“It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing, a big blessing,” Cassel said. “A miracle. She’s a strong lady.”

Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, has reached out to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.

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Noel Marquis is a journalist and animal-lover hailing from the Midwest. After an internship with Disney following her college graduation, she pursued a career writing content that makes readers smile. Coffee, books and superhero movies are some of her favorite things.