Woman Spent Nine Days Trapped in a Vehicle Impounded in Burien, Police Say


Officers found a missing woman with disabilities after she spent nine days inside an abandoned vehicle in near-freezing weather after it had been towed to a Burien impound lot, police said Tuesday.

The 28-year-old woman was found Feb. 14, nine days after she was last seen, and taken to a hospital  in serious  condition, Kent police said in a news release. Police did not say whether the woman's 45-year-old mother will be criminally charged after she parked the vehicle at a Kent gas station and then left while her daughter was inside earlier this month.

Investigators learned that gas station staff called a private tow company, which  towed the vehicle to Burien, police said. Officers contacted the company, Skyway Towing in  Burien, and employees found the woman inside the vehicle.

It's usual for employees to tow vehicles without checking inside,  said Bob Pauza, general manager for Skyway Towing. He said the tow truck driver looked through the windows, but didn't see anyone inside.

After police contacted the company, a driver searched the car, a 2004 Cadillac,  and found the woman lying on the back seat covered with clothes and other items, Pauza said.

"We can't really take credit for it," Pauza said. "Police are the real heroes."

She has not been identified nor have police disclosed the nature of her disability.

The woman was reportedly last seen on Feb. 5 with her mother at a gas station.

The woman was reported missing on Feb. 14 by her sister, who told police she had not seen or heard from her since early February, according to police.

"We are extremely relieved that we were able to locate and rescue the victim. If not for the efforts of our officers and the support of King County Sheriffs and Fire, this incident would likely have ended in tragedy" said Kent police Chief Rafael Padilla in a news release.

Detectives are still investigating the incident. No other information was immediately available.