Crews to resume search for woman on 'spiritual quest' - KPTV - FOX 12

Crews resume search for woman on 'spiritual quest'

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AMBOY, WA (KPTV) -

The search for a 19-year-old woman who was naked when she set off on a "spiritual quest" resumed Saturday morning.

Maureen Kelly, from Vancouver, WA, hasn't been seen since June 9, when she left a Canyon Creek campsite in Skamania County. A friend told sheriff's deputies Kelly left on a spiritual quest at 5 p.m. that day. She was wearing nothing but a fanny pack with a knife, a compass and a couple other items inside.

Rescue crews searched for Kelly in the woods of Gifford Pinchot National Forest for two days, but then called off their search.

On Saturday morning at 8 a.m., about 50 searchers met in the town of Amboy to begin a full day of rescue efforts.

Undersheriff Dave Cox said the plan is to "expand the search area" in hopes of finding Kelly.

"We are hopeful we will find her and bring closure to this incident," he said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Kelly's brother told KPTV that Kelly is comfortable and capable in the outdoors, but she wasn't as prepared as he would have liked.

He's concerned with the way she left and that she didn't tell anyone about when she planned to return.

Other campers also expressed concern. The Canyon Creek area is steep and mountainous with heavy timber and brush.

"There are bears out here, mountain lions, there's any number of things that could get you out here. Landslides are prominent out here," said camper Jessica Herman.

The campground from which she disappeared is located in Gifford Pinchot National Forest and it's about 60 miles northeast of Portland.

Search crews said Kelly crossed a creek and climbed up to Forest Road 54, on the other side of the canyon from the campground.

"Where she entered the creek is amazingly steep. It's called Canyon Creek Campground for a reason," said Sharon Ward, with Pacific Crest Search Dogs. "It's very, very steep. So how she got down there barefoot is a wonder. And how she came up out of the bottom is a wonder."

Ward said Kelly's track stopped on the paved road, so search crews spent part of the week trying to find where she may have left the pavement and entered the woods.

It is unknown whether she may be on a road or trail in the area.

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