A 21-year-old special-needs woman who went missing near a lake in the suburbs of Vancouver was found Sunday – almost exactly at the place where she went missing.
Joy Zhang disappeared near Sasamat Lake northeast of Vancouver Thursday after being separated from a group she was on a day excursion with, but after a clue from another special-needs woman who last saw her, Ms. Zhang was located not far from where she became lost.
“It appears as if she’s not injured,” said Coquitlam Search and Rescue Manager Dwight Yochim, who said the young woman is in high spirits.
“She’s thirsty, but she is talking up a storm and the team in the field that found her is absolutely ecstatic.”
Police said Ms. Zhang has the mental capacity of a 10-year-old and people with her condition rarely answer back when search crews call for them by name. However, Ms. Zhang’s friend, also a special-needs patient, told searchers Sunday morning that she didn’t walk long alone after the two separated.
That gave rescue crews the hint they needed and Ms. Zhang was quickly found, Mr. Yochim said.
“We probably were within 200 metres of her several times in the last four days and she wasn’t responding to our calls back, which is exactly what the statistics tell us.”
The area around Sasamat Lake is made up of thick forest and steep inclines, but houses and neighbourhoods are nearby.
At its peak a group of more than 90 searchers made up of trained rescuers and about 60 civilian volunteers were scouring the forest in search of the woman.