Elite Texas trackers helped locate a woman eight days after she went missing in Big Bend National Park.
The incident occurred last November when Christy Perry, 25, got lost hiking in the region. Fortunately, some of the Lone Star State’s best trackers found the missing Houston native despite only being alerted to the incident five days after she had gone missing.
“We realized that individual had been lost for days before we even heard about it. She was alone and perhaps the first time in Big Bend,” Park Ranger Tom VandenBerg told WFAA.
The search was complicated by fog that descended on the region at the time. Border Patrol Agent Jesse Thomason said the conditions were so bad that “you could not see your hand in front of your face.”
As reported by The Dallas Express around the time of the event, Perry had reportedly rented a car in Midland on November 9 before driving to the park. However, she never showed up for her Chisos Basin campground reservation later that evening.
To help locate Perry, some of the best trackers in Texas were recruited. GPS was used to keep track of searched areas, which was particularly important given the park’s size, which is larger than Rhode Island.
Even with the advanced tech, crews struggled.
“It’s all cliffs, drop-offs, and brush and cactus and deep canyons. They had been searching for the most likely places they could end up. But it’s a big big area up there,” VandenBerg said.
As hope was rapidly waning on the eighth day of the search, cadaver dogs and drones were brought in. Lt. Ed Mayfield of the Aircraft Division in the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) says the search crew was beginning to think the worst may have happened.
“All of us, to be honest, were thinking recovery. I hate to say that, but we were,” Mayfield said.
Amazingly, Perry was discovered in a ravine. She was in “remarkably good condition,” according to Thomason. Still, because of her location, crews had to carry her to a clearing where she could safely board the DPS chopper used to evacuate her.
The bad weather turned out to be a blessing for Perry, allowing her to find water and remain hydrated. Typically, says VandenBerg, the area is not known as a source of fresh water.
For her part, Perry says she’s “grateful” for everything that was done to get her home safely.