Lifestyle & Human Interest

Husband Returns to Campground After Parking Car To Find Wife and Dog Vanished Without a Trace


A California man is looking for his wife of 40 years after she and their dog mysteriously disappeared while on a camping trip.

“I was gone no more between five to seven minutes,” he told Today. “And when I came back over here, she was gone.”

Joe Powell was the last person to see his 60-year-old wife, Sheryl Powell.

On July 12, 2019, the couple had traveled to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest from their Huntington Beach home to go camping.

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According to Joe, he and Sheryl found a camping spot near the Grandview Campground around 1 p.m., but he needed to reposition their Jeep. Sheryl got out of the vehicle to let the couple’s 5-pound Yorkipoo, Miley, take a bathroom break and to wait in the shade while Joe did so.

When he got back to the campsite, both Sheryl and Miley had vanished.

He knew his wife was an experienced hiker, so Joe searched his wife for about an hour before contacting local law enforcement via satellite device.

Do you think authorities need to invest more time in a criminal investigation for Sheryl Powell's disappearance??

“Inyo Search and Rescue and Inyo Sheriff began searching immediately after receiving the notification on July 12,” Inyo County sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook. Multiple agencies have come together to aid in the search for Sheryl in the past four days, but so far the search has not been successful.

According to Greg Powell, Sheryl’s son, the only trace his mother left behind were footprints at the campsite.

Eager to bring Sheryl home, her family has asked the public to continue to contact officials involved in the search to implore them to continue to expand the search and give it proper funding.

“They keep insisting she just got lost (she didn’t bring any food or water and had no plans to hike yet, they were just setting up camp) or the dog got away (she weighs 4 lbs was on a leash and has a bad leg so she can’t run),” Greg wrote on his Facebook page.

“I hope they’re right but I think they should be pursuing the possibility of abduction as well.”

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Greg said that law enforcement has questioned his father and some of his mother’s friends, but calls those possibilities “absurd.”

“My parents have an extremely loving relationship,” he explained. “And my dad (who has refused to leave the campsite) is on the verge of breakdown.”

On July 15, Inyo County Sheriff’s Office shared that the investigations had “determined that Mr. Powell is not connected to Mrs. Powell’s disappearance.” Despite the family’s plea for additional funding, Inyo County Sheriff’s Office said that the family had been extremely cooperative.

According to the sheriff’s office, the biggest challenges in the search so far have been gullies, direct sun, shale slopes and rattlesnakes.

“I’ve been through this a million times in my mind,” Joe later told Today. “How could somebody disappear like that?”

“I don’t understand any part of it, I’m destroyed personally. I’m trying to stay strong over here because that’s what I have to do right now.”

On July 15, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office posted that they believed they had found Miley — but still no sign of Sheryl.

“11:30am- searchers have located a dog matching the description of the dog that was with missing camper Sheryl Powell,” they posted on Facebook. “The dog is alive, and was located 2.5 miles from Mrs. Powell’s last known location. Updates to follow.”

Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, has reached out to Farrah Powell and Greg Powell for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.

If you have any information that could help investigators find Sheryl Powell and bring her home, please contact the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department at 760-818-0383. The family has also set up a GoFundMe to raise money for additional, private search efforts.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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