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Missing camper found, says she was chased by man with knife

Updated July 16, 2019 - 12:08 pm

BISHOP, Calif. — A woman missing for three days after disappearing from a remote campground in California’s White Mountains on Tuesday described a man she says chased her with a knife as a burley, bald “big guy” with tanned skin.

Sheryl Powell, of Huntington Beach, California, detailed what it was like to be missing what she remembers of the man during an appearance Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show.

Powell, 60, said she was told to do what he said and he would refrain from using the knife on her and her small dog.

She said she was able to run away from the man Friday, and survived by drinking water from a small spring. Search and rescue teams found her and the dog, Miley, on Monday.

“I’m happy to be here to tell my story,” Powell said.

Her husband, Joseph Powell, said he was moving their Jeep while she walked their small dog, when they both disappeared without a trace. He searched for nearly an hour for them, and then contacted authorities.

“Yesterday I was saddest man on the planet and today I’m the happiest man on the planet,” Joseph Powell said Tuesday. “It’s a miracle. I got my wife back.”

There has been no sign of the man and the Inyo County sheriff’s office is actively investigating the circumstances surrounding her disappearance but can’t release any other information, said spokeswoman Carma Roper.

“Now that we have transitioned from active search and rescue into an investigation there aren’t a lot of public details we can release,” Roper said.

The White Mountains lie east of the Sierra Nevada range and northwest of Death Valley National Park. Grandview Campground is at an elevation of 8,600 feet (2,621 meters) near the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, 230 miles (370 kilometers) north of Los Angeles.

It is prized by star gazers for sky vistas far from city lights, according to the Inyo National Forest. The nearest civilization is a 16-mile (25.8-kilometer) drive to the town of Big Pine down in Owens Valley.

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest has trees that are more than 4,000 years old, the oldest in the world.

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