PORT TOWNSEND — A 55-year-old Forks woman was found walking along state Highway 104 in Jefferson County uninjured five hours after she was reported missing.
Motorists reported seeing the Forks woman just after 4 p.m. Thursday, said Trooper Chelsea Hodgson, State Patrol spokeswoman.
The unidentified woman was reported standing on the shoulder of Highway 104 west of Sandy Shore Road, staring into the woods.
Witnesses observed no vehicles nearby, Hodgson said.
Troopers contacted the woman and later learned she had been reported as a missing/endangered person by the Port Gamble S’klallam Tribe Department of Public Safety just before 11 a.m. She also was diagnosed schizophrenic, Hodgson said.
Troopers contacted the woman’s mother, who said she had wandered off earlier at The Point Casino in Kingston. Troopers transported the woman back to her mother’s care.
“The success of finding the Forks woman was due to the partnership of an alert public, law enforcement and the endangered Missing Person Advisory Plan,” Hodgson said.
The advisory plan is designed for missing persons unable to return safely without assistance, often due to medical issues, mental health, age, or severe weather, she said.
Local agencies with a missing person who fits the criteria can activate a missing person’s report locally, and contact the State Patrol Missing Persons Unit for a poster to be created and distributed to law enforcement.
A missing person’s information is also entered into databases, providing alerts when contacted by law enforcement, Hodgson said.
The advisory plan includes Silver Alerts for missing persons 60 years or older and alert signage on state Department of Transportation signs when a vehicle is involved.
The State Patrol is not a primary reporting agency, Hodgson said.
A missing person must be reported to the local law enforcement agency where the person was last seen before the State Patrol can assist.
To contact the Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit, call 1-800-543-5678 or email [email protected]