BURLEY — An 83-year-old Twin Falls woman and her adult granddaughter were found safe after their vehicle got stuck during an afternoon drive Nov. 24 near the City of Rocks National Reserve.
Pernecia Heinemann and Pernecia Ann Heinemann, 33, of Twin Falls, were found at 12:09 p.m. on Nov. 25 at the top of Almo Creek in the Logger Springs area in their Dodge minivan, Cassia County Undersheriff George Warrell said.
“They were cold, hungry and thirsty, but they were fine and family members took them home,” Warrell said.
Warrell said the pair were going for a drive through the City of Rocks and called a friend at 5:30 p.m. Sunday saying they had “gotten turned around” on the Oakley side of the mountain.
Afterward, they lost their cellphone service.
The sheriff’s office was able to ping the cellphone, but the tower it hit indicated they were on Middle Mountain, which was incorrect.
Two men from Twin Falls started searching for them prior to calling the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office received the call at 10:07 p.m. Sunday. A deputy was sent to search first and Mini-Cassia Search and Rescue was called out at 1:07 a.m. Monday.
There were hunters in the area for a late archery hunt and “knowing the large area” deputies asked all the hunters they encountered to keep an eye out for the pair and the vehicle, said Warrell.
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“That paid off,” he said. “Hunters found them and called a deputy.”
Warrell said it was a wise move for the pair to stay with the vehicle, which had gotten stuck after they traveled down an ATV trail that ended and they tried to turn around.
“Given the age of the passenger and the storm that was moving through, they may not have made it out,” Warrell said.
Warrell said a pilot launched a helicopter from Burley to aid in the search but was unable to continue due to a lack of visibility.
Travelers this time of year should keep some food, water and blankets in their vehicle, pay attention to where they are going in case a storm limits visibility and notify family or friends where they are heading.
“Conditions can change rapidly,” he said.
Warrell said people also need to be careful relying on GPS devices, especially when traveling in remote areas because the shortest route may not always be the best road.