Lifestyle & Human Interest

Man Finds Woman Missing for Days Alive and Trapped in Wreckage of Flipped Car in Ditch


We live our lives according to routines: predetermined patterns of behavior that save us time and energy. So whenever we suddenly stop them, people around us sit up and take notice.

Sometimes such shifts can signal a new commitment to a life change and are a positive change of habit that surprises everyone in a good way. Sometimes they indicate the development of a health issue.

Sometimes they even indicate that foul play is at work. That was what family members of an Alabama woman feared after she was last seen on April 17, allegedly heading for the post office.

According to, Fancher, who lives in the 4,600-person town of Headland, headed off to her local post office mid-morning on a Wednesday. That was the last anyone saw of her for several days.

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It wasn’t what you’d call a major trek, either. The post office was only a mile from her apartment.

Eventually, her family contacted police, and on April 19, authorities officially declared her missing.

As one day rolled into the next, a manhunt began in earnest. Friends and family knew that Fancher was diabetic, and if something had happened to her, she faced the real risk of falling into a diabetic coma.

The New York Daily News reported that police found Fancher’s car on April 22, five days after she had last been seen. A passing driver had peered down a steep embankment and seen a vehicle swaddled in brush, 17 miles from Fancher’s home, suggesting the post office hadn’t been her only errand.

Fancher’s brother-in-law, Garry Mattox, stated that police originally gave the family horrible news: They said that they had discovered Fancher, and she had not survived.

Fortunately, that proved entirely false. Fancher was very much alive and responsive.

According to WDHN, it seemed almost miraculous that anyone noticed Fancher at all. The good Samaritan, who declined to be identified, said the site was so overgrown that even rescue crews struggled to find it.

“The county even went by twice, two or three times actually, went up, turned around and came back by across the bridge again,” the individual said. “They didn’t see her when they came by looking.”

When they finally arrived, they faced a new problem. How in the world were they going to rescue the trapped woman?

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“The main challenges were going to be where the car was and where the victim was pinned against the driver’s door,” Dothan Fire Battalion Chief Pete Webb said. “It was off the road, and it was difficult to get the car to pull around her.”

However, Webb added, “[The] joint effort, the communication in the car, in the ditch was really good. … People were throwing ideas out there, and it was all to take care of her to get her out.”

And get her out, they did. Fancher is safely recovering from the ordeal, having sustained a few injuries, and her brother-in-law described the outcome as a “blessing.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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