Missing Olivehurst woman found alive and well in Las Vegas
Special to The Union
A missing 78-year-old Olivehurst woman was found by police early Wednesday morning in Las Vegas.
The 12-day search for Betty Jean Bowen was called off after a Yuba County sheriff’s deputy spoke with Bowen and learned she had driven to the Nevada resort destination 600 miles away.
“She’s an adult; she can do that,” said Bowen’s daughter, Debbie Collier. But, she said jokingly, “We decided when she comes home, she’s grounded.”
The search began after family members reported Nov. 1 that no one had spoken with Bowen since Oct. 29. They were able to track back her movements on Oct. 30, when she performed her monthly errands. After that, there was no trace.
Bowen does have some paranoia, but not dementia, Collier had said.
Yuba County Sheriff’s Sgt. Philip Spadini said detectives have been to Chico, Paradise, Live Oak and all over Marysville and Yuba City in their search for a lead on Bowen’s whereabouts.
“We have flown several different areas that we thought might be relevant. I followed up on at least 10 different sightings. The whole detective unit has been working (the case) since Monday (Nov. 2),” Spadini said.
He spoke with Bowen on the phone at about 7 a.m. Wednesday and Las Vegas police found her in a Walgreens parking lot, ran her license plate and identified her as a missing person. Family members confirmed with a photograph the traveler was Bowen.
“When we got the call I was happy, just very, very happy,” Spadini said.
Bowen wasn’t very forthcoming about her trip, he said. “I wouldn’t say she was friendly. She was cooperative.”
“She did say she was fine and that she decided to leave, that she didn’t want anybody to know where she was. It didn’t have to do with family. She just wanted to leave,” Spadini said.
“She sounded lucid to me on the phone,” he said. “Officers evaluated her and thought she was of sound body and mind.”
Collier, who hadn’t spoken with Bowen as of Wednesday afternoon, said she hopes her mother will come home soon.
Why she drove to the city is unclear, and Collier said her family may never know.
“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” she said.
The most important thing that came out of this experience, Collier said, is “if you know somebody that you know is older, make sure they have a cellphone, or some way to get in contact with her.”
Collier expressed her gratitude for the support she and her family received from the community.
“This community rallied to try to help find her, it was amazing,” Collier said. “There wasn’t a place I went that somebody didn’t know (about the search).”
Monica Vaughan is a reporter for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat. She can be reached at 749-4783 and on Twitter @MonicaLVaughan.
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