SAN FRANCISCO—A woman who was diagnosed with dementia was found buried alive in the outskirts of San Francisco on Wednesday, January 15, seven days after she was first reported missing.
Paula Beth James, 68, was found in her Toyota 4Runner was covered with snow in the Butte Meadows three miles from the Bambi Inn. A Butte County Sheriff’s helicopter flying over the area around noon, spotted her vehicle.
The helicopter pilot landed near James’ car nestled in a rural area surrounded by trees. A team exited the helicopter and hiked to her location 150 yards off the road on Skyway. Officials sent out a Sno Cat, a vehicle designed to travel in the snow, to aid in the rescue. Rescue teams and civilians who were searching for Paula were thankful she was found alive.
James was treated by paramedics and taken to Enloe Medical Center in Chico, California around 2:45 p.m. She was conscious and able to talk by the time she arrived. According to the Butte County Sheriff’s Station, James is in stable condition. Officials believe that the cause of this incident might have been due to James’ dementia.
Family members are happy that James was found and look forward to her recovery. Doctors are still running test to make sure she is okay.
According to authorities, the operation took more than 100 hours. It is still unclear how long James was trapped in her vehicle and how she managed to survive.
By Anita Brown and Christianne McCormick