Lifestyle & Human Interest

Missing Hiker and Dog Both Found Alive, Reunited with Family: 'Resilient and Strong but Exhausted'


Sheryl Powell, the missing California woman who mysteriously vanished while camping with her husband, has been found alive thanks in large part to her loyal dog.

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

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.

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After searching for his wife for over an hour, Joe contacted local authorities via satellite device.

Inyo County Sheriff’s Department and several other agencies joined forces to search for Sheryl, but the difficult terrain made the search more difficult. Until July 15, 2019, authorities had found no signs of her whereabouts.

Around 11:30 a.m. on July 15, the sheriff’s department shared that they had found a dog matching the description of the family’s beloved Miley.

“The dog is alive, and was located 2.5 miles from Mrs. Powell’s last known location. Updates to follow,” they wrote on Facebook.

Just two and half hours later, at 2 p.m., they provided an update and confirmed that a ground search team had found Sheryl Powell alive.

“Searchers describe her as resilient and strong but exhausted after being lost in an extremely remote area above Big Pine, CA,” they wrote.

According to a Facebook post shared by her son, Greg Powell, Sheryl was peeing behind a tree when a middle-aged man approached her and began to make lude comments, threatened her with a knife and grabbed her.

Fearing that the man would rape her, she tore from him and ran down the hill and away from her husband, even though she could hear him calling for her. She continued to avoid marked paths and only traveled at night to keep safe from her attacker — but in doing so, she became lost.

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“Thankfully she is strong and resilient and knew how to find water (despite no map, phone, or overt knowledge of the area),” Greg wrote. “She had some stagnant water and cactus fruit to keep her going but still got dehydrated and when she could no longer walk she scooted as far as she could.”

Sheryl tried to leave her dog Miley tied up near stagnant water, but the little dog proved her loyalty to her owner, broke free of the leash, refused to leave Sheryl’s side and ultimately led the search team to her location.

Sheryl was met by an ambulance and was taken to be medically cleared before going home.

“SHES ALIVE!!! This is the happiest day of our lives,” Sheryl’s daughter Farrah wrote on Facebook. “We can’t thank everyone enough!!!!!!!”

Farrah also thanked everyone who donated to the family’s GoFundMe campaign; the campaign raised almost $40,000 to help fund private search efforts they were prepared to initiate.

She also confirmed that she has asked GoFundMe to refund the money to the people who so graciously donated.

“My mom is an amazing human being and she looks pretty good given the situation,” Greg wrote. “Her first words were to us were ‘I’m so sorry I put you through that you guys must have been so worried,’ just proving how selfless she is.”

“We are overjoyed to be reunited with her!”

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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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