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He Feared Wife Was Abducted From Campsite, Wasn't Far Off

Sheryl Powell says man armed with a knife came up to her and threatened her
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2019 8:11 AM CDT
Sheryl Powell, who is missing. Inyo County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Carma Roper says 60-year-old Powell, of Huntington Beach, Calif., remains missing Monday, July 15, 2019. Her husband reported Friday...   (Inyo County Sheriff's Office via AP)

(Newser) – "The only plausible explanation in my opinion is she was abducted," said a California man after his 60-year-old wife vanished from their campsite Friday when he briefly left to move their vehicle. Sheryl Powell was found alive in the Inyo National Forest four days later, and Joe Powell's fears about what had happened weren't far off, she says. In a Tuesday interview with the Today show, she says she took her dog to explore the area around the Grandview Campground when a "burly" man came up to her and issued a threat: "The first thing that's gonna happen here, I'm gonna use this knife on the dog, and then if you don't let me have my way with you, I'll use it on you." She says she acted compliant until the moment came when she and her dog were able to flee him.

She tells ABC News she took off running in a direction that moved her further away from her husband, "because the guy was between me and [him]." Powell says the man pursued her but that after being free from him for a day she shifted her focus from eluding him to surviving. She had no food or water on her so she ate cactus fruit and drank spring water. The experienced hiker fashioned unused doggie bags into a layer of protection from the evening cold, and hiked at night in a bid to avoid rattlesnakes and keep from getting dehydrated. She was found Monday in an "extremely remote area" near Big Pine, which sits north of the Nevada border, reports the Los Angeles Times. Her barking dog was found just hours earlier. "That was harrowing ... I didn't know if I'd make it," she says. The Inyo County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate. (Read more hikers stories.)

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