An Albuquerque woman missing for almost a month in New Mexico’s vast Gila National Forest has been found alive — and with her cat.
Search teams came to the rescue Wednesday just after 9 a.m., after only an hour of carefully combing through the wilderness, the Las Cruces Sun News reported.
“When they called in at 9 and said we found her, my chin dropped and I said ‘is she alive?’” Glenn Tolhurst, operations section chief for the search told the Las Cruces Sun News. "They said 'she's alive. And she's got a cat.'"
Margaret Page, 41, was found by members of the Mesilla Valley Search and Rescue team about one mile from a trail where she had gone hiking with her cat sometime between Feb. 10-12.
When the 27-member and two dog search team spotted Page, she was found wrapped up in a blue sleeping bag, malnourished and bony, but well-hydrated, David Kuthe, the incident commander of the search, told the Las Cruces Sun News.
She was probably living off of water from a nearby creek and feeding Miya, her cat and herself with the food she had brought with her, according to Las Cruces Sun News.
Page, who had lost one-third of her body weight, was immediately taken by ambulance to Gila Regional Medical Center and checked herself out later that night. Her cat was described as “sluggish” and “thin.”
Page was initially reported missing on Feb. 14 with the Albuquerque Police Department by her mother.
A Forest Service agent located Page’s car by the trailhead on Feb. 12, two days after Page left Albuquerque after telling her family that she was going to Florida.
Although her car was found two weeks prior to her rescue, the search operation was not activated until Tuesday night.
On Feb. 25 the Forest Service agent noticed that Page’s car was still where it was first spotted earlier in February and verified that it was indeed Page’s car, according to the Las Cruces Sun News.
It is not clear why it took so long for State Police to be notified.