Washington Woman Missing Since Thursday Rescued on Blewett Pass


PESHASTIN — An 68-year old Spokane Valley woman who had been missing since last Thursday was found Monday night 30-40 feet down an embankment on Blewett Pass. She was found at 7:32 p.m.

A Silver Alert had been issued for Lynelle McFarland last week. A Silver Alert is activated when an elderly, developmentally, or cognitively-impaired person has gone missing and is determined to be at-risk.

She had been traveling from Ellensburg on Thursday when she went missing.

On Nov. 18, McFarland left the Ellensburg area at 2:30 p.m. to return home to Spokane, her daughter Amanda said, as reported by KIRO.

Amanda texted her approximately an hour and a half later asking if she had arrived home, and received a text that said "not yet, but I will swing by your apartment first."

McFarland's daughter reported her missing around 8:30 p.m. the next day, as she had still not shown up at her residence or her daughter's apartment.

McFarland's daughter reports concern for her mother's mental health and driving capabilities, mentioning that McFarland often gets lost and takes medication that can cause impairment, according to KIRO.

"We got some information on this Silver Alert early Monday morning. There was a (cell phone) ping in Chelan County off a tower at the top of Blewett Pass. The ping came back with a 10,000-meter (6.21 miles) radius on the ping, which is pretty big and not very reliable," said Chelan County Sheriff Sgt. Jason Reinfeld.

Chelan County Sheriff's Department deputies searched some roads in the area during the day on Monday without success.

On Monday night, McFarland's family members obtained an exact point rather than a large search area, Reinfeld said, but he's not sure how they came up with that.

"A WSDOT employee went to the area of the ping and looked over an embankment and located the vehicle. A deputy in the area who was searching some roads responded to the scene," he said. "The deputy rappelled down to the vehicle 30-40 feet down an embankment and across the creek."

McFarland's black Mitsubishi Eclipse was found on its side. The deputy said the woman was alive and had some injuries. The Rope Rescue Team from Chelan County Fire Department 1 responded along with fire districts from Cashmere, Chelan and Leavenworth.

"It was snow-covered up. It was fairly simple to get to her. It was just getting her out of the vehicle, onto a backboard and up the slope," Chelan County Fire District 6 Chief Phil Mosher said. "We rigged up a system and had to cut off the top of the car to get to her. She was conscious and fairly alert for being there for 3-4 days."

Mosher said the woman had a wrist injury and broken ribs and a possible leg injury.

"The WSDOT found her at Milepost 165. We believe she was coming northbound on 97 and hit a slick spot and ended off the road," Mosher said. "She was transported to Central Washington Hospital."

Reinfeld said it was very fortunate she was found.

"If she was down there since Thursday, then she had survived a long time with injuries and in the cold," Reinfeld said. "I don't if know she had food or water. The deputy responding said there were a lot of items in the car which had been tossed everywhere."

The investigation is continuing. Reinfeld said he wants to find out how the family got the ping with the exact location.