Area woman missing since Friday found

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Franklin County woman found Monday afternoon after a three-day search remains in stable condition Tuesday morning, said Franklin County Sheriff James Newman.

     Roxie Wells Wilkinson, 79, of Smithdale, was reported missing Friday afternoon, beginning a search and rescue effort that lasted until Monday afternoon when a helicopter spotted Wilkinson about 2:52 p.m. She was located about half a mile from her daughter’s house on Peterson Road, her last known location, Newman said.

     “That area had been searched and gridded, but she was missed,” Newman said. “It was a cutover with young pines and briars. It was very, very thick.”

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     After approximately 72 hours in the woods, Wilkinson was very dehydrated, Newman said. She was transported to Southwest Regional Medical Center in McComb where she remains in stable condition.

     The Franklin County woman was found just as heavy storms were entering the area.

     “We were putting her in the ambulance, and it wasn’t five minutes before it started raining,” Newman said Tuesday. “I believe we were smiled on yesterday.”

     Wilkinson suffers from Alzheimer’s and a heart condition and had no medication with her while lost. A Silver Alert was issued over her disappearance.

     In total, approximately a mile and a half mile radius around the Peterson Road residence was searched by law enforcement agencies and volunteers from several counties, including Lincoln, Copiah, Amite and Pike.

     The helicopter that found Wilkinson was from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

     ” We really appreciate the efforts of all the volunteers,” Newman said.