Monmouth Police Sgt. Dana Wessling said these tracks led to finding a woman that walked away from her home, making it almost three miles in a few hours. Photo courtesy of Dana Wessling

MONMOUTH — Quick work from local police may have saved a Monmouth woman’s life after she walked away from home late Sunday evening, eventually being found crawling on her hands in knees through the snow three miles from her home.

At 11:40 p.m. Sunday, Sgt. Dana Wessling and Officer Olivia Mora responded to a report of a missing woman at a Main Road residence, about half-a-mile from the Wales town line. A housemate said they had not seen the woman since 8:20 p.m., and the woman left on foot without her cellphone, wearing boots and a light jacket.

Wessling said he had been on calls previously at the residence, so he was aware that the woman often walked away from home. Any tracks the woman may have made would have been quickly covered by snow, complicating any initial tracking police could have done from the Main Road residence.

Wessling said he contacted the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department to send a K9 unit and began driving around roads near the Main Road home. About 20 minutes after Wessling left the residence, he turned on to Pine Hill Road and saw fresh tracks in the snow.

Wessling said he initially thought the tracks were from a deer crossing the road but felt the need to look closer.

“I jammed on the brakes and put it in reverse,” he said. “I rolled down my window. As soon as I did, I saw a person crawling on their hands and knees 25 yards or so away from the road.”

Wessling said he jumped out of the car and gave the woman a jacket, and allowed her to warm up in the car before she was taken to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston. Wessling said the woman was heading toward a heavily wooded area, and likely would have been hypothermic and in danger of dying if she was outside much longer.

“I don’t know if she got confused,” Wessling said. “I’m guessing it just wasn’t her time. It was just luck that I even stopped.”


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