ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona woman details being missing in forest for 3 days after getting lost on walk

Dec 14, 2023, 4:35 AM

PHOENIX — An Arizona woman was rescued last week after she spent three days in the forest with her dog and no phone in frigid December temperatures.

Joann Ward took her dog, Mia, on a walk near her and her husband’s motor home in Bagdad on Dec. 5 at about 3 p.m. when she attempted to take a shortcut.

The new route instead ran them into a ravine. Ward, who did not have her cellphone on her, searched for a road and couldn’t find one. As night rolled in, Ward found a tree and curled up there with Mia for the night, hoping to stave off the cold and coyotes in the area.

When was a missing person’s report filed for Ward?

Search crews began looking for Ward the first night she went missing about 125 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix, but were unsuccessful.

The next morning, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office put out a bulletin urging the public to help find Ward.

The 62-year-old woman said on the second day, she heard helicopters in the area but couldn’t get close enough to them to be noticed.

Ward’s husband, Jim, started to worry that his wife had been injured and couldn’t physically get out of the forest.

That wasn’t the case, according to Ward.

“I knew they were out looking for me,” Ward told YCSO. “I could see all the activity and that gave me hope and the strength to keep going in the direction that they were working.”

Ward and Mia spent another night in the cold.

How was Ward found by rescue teams?

The third day proved to be fruitful in the search.

She said she again heard helicopters in her area, but also started to hear vehicles.

Ward found her way to a road and soon after, ran into a group of people who were searching for her.

“They asked me my name … they told me ‘We’ve been looking for you for days,'” Ward said.

John Harris, who manages a YCSO search and rescue team, said about 50 people helped look for Ward. The woman was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

“When I came into the camp and saw how many [people] were out there, I was overwhelmed and I am so grateful and thankful for every one of them,” Ward said.

Harris was grateful for a happy ending.

“There’s a lot of emotion for both parties,” Harris said. “The person is obviously glad they’ve been found but the people who are looking, there is a reward you have completed it. Not all of our searches have a positive end.”

What advice does Ward have for other hikers?

After nearly 72 hours by herself without a phone and only her dog, Ward doesn’t want to relive the experience again.

She said she would not be trying to cut out times on her walks any time soon.

“Don’t try to take a shortcut like I did thinking it was going to be so easy,” Ward said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Center helps people with autism find jobs with business experience...

Serena O'Sullivan

New business center in Phoenix helps students, adults with autism learn job skills

Diana Diaz-Harrison with Arizona Autism Charter Schools said the business programs at a new center will help people with autism find jobs.

2 hours ago

A kitten named "Taylor Swift" was one of the 7,200 pets who received care at the Arizona Humane Soc...

KTAR.com

Arizona Humane Society cares for 7,200 animals in first 100 days at new campus

The Arizona Humane Society (AHS) is celebrating its first 100 days at its new five-acre Rob and Melani Walton Papago Park Campus in Phoenix.

2 hours ago

Eastbound Interstate 10 will close this weekend between SR 51 and US 60, ADOT says. (Google Maps sc...

KTAR.com

Eastbound Interstate 10 to close between SR 51 and US 60 for weekend traffic shift

Drivers should plan around a weekendlong closure of Interstate 10's eastbound lanes between State Route 51 and U.S. 60 beginning Friday.

2 hours ago

annual wildlife photo contest...

Serena O'Sullivan

Winner of new photo contest will see their work on cover of Arizona wildlife magazine

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is accepting entries for its 18th annual wildlife photo contest through 5 p.m. on Aug. 9.

2 hours ago

Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day, commemorates the end of chattel slavery on June 19, 1865 in Galves...

KTAR.com

Race relations expert says ‘every American’ should celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a day of celebrating for "every American, white, black or otherwise," race relations expert Daryl Davis said Wednesday.

10 hours ago

Scottsdale-based chipmaker onsemi is planning a large investment into a Czech Republic facility. (o...

Associated Press

Scottsdale-based chipmaker Onsemi to invest up to $2 billion in Czech Republic facility

The U.S. chipmaker onsemi is planning a multi-year investment of up $2 billion in its production facility in the Czech Republic.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Arizona woman details being missing in forest for 3 days after getting lost on walk