Gia Fuda, 18, has been found safe, eight days after disappearing in a heavily wooded area outside of Seattle. Rescuers are now calling her recovery a “miracle.”
Searchers came across her notebook along a stream in the Cascade Mountains Saturday afternoon, and followed the stream until they came across her shoes and clothes. Two miles later, they found Fuda at the bottom of a ravine.
"We are absolutely thrilled to know that search and rescue located her alive," King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ryan Abbott said in a statement. "It shows that miracles do happen.”
While Fuda was incoherent when she was found and unable to explain what happened in the last eight days, Abbott said she was in stable condition. She was taken to a local hospital, where she was reunited with her parents.
She had disappeared more than a week ago from Maple Valley. She had left her home in her car, which was found abandoned near Stevens Pass with an empty gas tank Saturday. Fuda's purse and wallet were inside the vehicle.
Her car was left about 10 miles from the nearest gas station.
When she was found, Fuda had no food with her, but officials said there were berries in the area she could have eaten and she could have drank from the creek.
Authorities had originally believed her disappearance was suspicious, as her cell phone was turned off, but now they are unsure if it was off or just had no signal, which made it even harder for searchers to narrow down their search area.
“The brush is very thick out here as well, so you can’t bring helicopters in to see very easily which is why a lot of these searches had to be on foot,” Abbott said. “The parents were thrilled when they found out Gia was alive.”