Missing Fremont woman found alive on Highland Way

posted Jan 13, 2012, 9:55 AM by Santa Cruz County Sheriff Search and Rescue Team   [ updated Jan 13, 2012, 10:01 AM ]
Posted: 01/12/2012 12:49:01 PM PST

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Amy Northrup

SUMMIT - A 47-year-old Fremont woman reported missing earlier this week was found Thursday by a resident who spotted her wandering on a Highland Way property in the Santa Cruz Mountains, sheriff's deputies reported.

Amy Doyle Northrop was disoriented but did not have any major injuries when found about 2:30 p.m. Northrop was found on the 3000 block of Highland Way, said sheriff's Sgt. Steve Carney.

She wore light clothing and apparently walked about two miles from her car, which was found on a nearby road Wednesday night. A 35-member search team then looked for Northrop on Wednesday night and Thursday.

Volunteers, sheriff's deputies, search dogs and a helicopter crew participated in the search.

It was unclear how long Northrop had been outside, Carney said. She was transported to Dominican Hospital for evaluation.

Northrop recently had been "stressed" about her medical condition, which may have caused her to voluntarily go missing, authorities said. Details of the condition were not released.

Authorities said Northrop had been seen last on Monday in Fremont and was reported missing that day by her family, Carney said.

Northrop's cellphone records showed her phone in Watsonville and Santa Cruz Mountains.

About 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, a Summit-area resident saw Northrop's gray Nissan Altima parked on Maymens Flat Road near Ormsby Cutoff Road, Carney said.

About the same time near Russell Ridge and Mount Madonna Road, deputies concluded a separate search for a Summit-area at-risk woman who was found near her home.

When that search finished Wednesday about 10:30 p.m., the same rescue crew shifted about a mile up Summit Road to look for Northrop, Carney said.

Northrop's car was in good condition and there were no obvious signs of damage or foul play, deputies said.

Deputies opened it to look for clues but nothing stood out, Carney said.

The parked car gave deputies a place to start the search. A helicopter, airplane and several K-9 units joined them Thursday afternoon, Carney said.

About 10 a.m. Thursday, searchers found a piece of clothing that belonged to Northrop and provided a "fresh lead," Carney said.

Search dogs and staff from Monterey and Santa Clara counties also participated in the search. Additional resources came from the California Emergency Management Agency.

The American Red Cross provided meals to searchers.