Search crew finds missing hiker near remote Snohomish County lake


INDEX, Wash. -- An 18-year-old woman who went missing Saturday in a remote area of Snohomish County is safe after a long but successful search.

Search and rescue officials say it took about 16 hours to find the woman and several more to walk her out of the woods. The teenager got separated from her friends on Saturday near Blanca Lake in the Index area.

"The young lady we are looking for decided the terrain was too much for her so she decided to go back down the trailhead to her vehicle," said Sgt. Danny Wikstrom with the Snohomish County sheriff's office.

When her friends returned at around 9 p.m and she wasn't there, they called 911. Search crews arrived about 90 minutes later and began looking through the wilderness for her. On Sunday morning they used search dogs and a helicopter.

After hours of looking, the searchers finally found a clue.

"In this case finding those footprints turned out to be critical," Wikstrom said.

It was critical because it allowed crews to narrow their search. When the found the missing woman, she was cold but otherwise healthy. She was able to walk out on her own.

Dozens of the woman's friends and family members were at the trailhead Sunday hoping for good news.

"She's 18, goes to college, works, participates a lot in church, just a really nice person," one friends said.

Blanca Lake is in extreme eastern Snohomish County in the Cascade Range. The area is very remote and there is no cell phone coverage in the area.

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