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Friday, March 20, 2009

LCSO SAR: JOY - 13-hour search, 1alien abduction

Lost Northern California Hikers Found, Claim Alien Abduction

A 13-hour search for two women who went missing from the Harbin Hot Springs Resort community Sunday afternoon ended Wednesday morning when Heidi Marlene Fichthorn, 50, emerged from the woods, according to a press release from the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Fichthorn had scrapes and bruises after spending two days lost in the woods when she caught a ride back to the resort from where she emerged just north of Harbin Springs Road. Fichthorn and Anna Marie Jones, 70, both Harbin Hot Springs residents, had set out for a two-hour hike Sunday at approximately 1 p.m., according to the resort's security manager Omer Nizri.

"Apparently, they got lost and it got foggy it was raining that night," Nizri said.

The women were separated. Fichthorn was reported missing when she didn't show up for work Monday afternoon, according to Nizri. He said security teams launched an investigation and a search, learning that Fichthorn was last seen with Jones.

Nizri said another of the resort's residents went looking for Jones, known in the community as "Omi," and found her Tuesday on Big Canyon Road, six miles north of Harbin Springs Road. Nizri said she had suffered severe scrapes on her hands from a fall and was disoriented.

"She wasn't making sense; she was talking about alien abduction," Nizri said.

Jones was taken to St. Helena Hospital, Clearlake and released the same day after treatment.

"I was surprised that both of them were in such good shape," Nizri said.

The LCSO launched a search and rescue operation Tuesday night after learning Fichthorn was still lost in the woods, coordinating 75 volunteers and searching the wooded areas north of Harbin Springs Road into Wednesday morning. According to the LCSO press release, REACH provided air support out of Lampson Field in Lakeport when day broke, and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department sent helicopters to aid in the search.

Search and rescue personnel from Lake Contra Costa, Mendocino, Sonoma and Sacramento counties assisted. , also assisted in the search.

The community in Harbin Hot Springs consists of between 150 and 200 homes, according to Nizri, and sits on more than 1,200 acres.

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