A missing Washington teenager who vanished last month after she ran out of gas was found alive Saturday in a remote section of the Cascade Mountains, authorities said.
Speaking to reporters, King County sheriff’s spokesman Ryan Abbott said it was a “miracle” that Giovanna Fuda, 18, was found after a week-long search.
“She’s in stable condition,” he said. “This is a remarkable ending.”
Fuda was last seen on July 24, when she left her home in the Seattle suburb of Maple Valley without telling her parents where she was going. Her car was found abandoned the next night near a mountain pass roughly two hours northeast of Maple Valley.
“We don’t know why she was up there,” her father, Bob Fuda, told NBC affiliate KING last week.
Authorities said the car, a 2008 Toyota Corolla, had run out of gas. Her purse was still in the vehicle but her cellphone was gone. The King County Sheriff’s Office initially described her disappearance as “suspicious.”
Abbott said the area was a dead zone for cell service so it was difficult to trace her location through her phone’s GPS. Dense brush also made it impossible to search with a helicopter, he said.
On Saturday, after a bloodhound tracked her scent more than a mile down the highway, a search and rescue team trekking up a ravine and following a creek found her notebook, shoes and clothing, Abbott said. They eventually found her, too, a few miles from her car, he said. She was alert and conscious but incoherent.
“We don’t know how she got up in that area,” he said, adding that she may have gotten turned around while walking to get gas. He said she likely survived by drinking water from the creek, but she had no food with her and he wasn’t sure what she ate.
A family friend who was involved in the search, Jeff White, told KING that Saturday was the last day of the rescue effort.