Community rallies to locate missing Anza woman, 88

ANZA — Sheriff’s authorities who spearheaded an hours-long search for a missing, 88-year-old Anza woman later credited community members they say assisted with the victim’s successful search and return home Thursday, Aug. 29.

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members,” sheriff’s officials said in a social media post after the victim was located. “This was never more on display than last night in the community of Anza. ❤️❤️❤️”


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Deputies from the Hemet Sheriff’s Station and Sheriff’s Aviation Unit, along with California Highway Patrol officers, Cal Fire/Riverside County firefighters, and AMR medics, were dispatched to the Anza area after receiving reports that the elderly victim had wandered away from her residence and had not been seen for several hours.

While deputies and CHP officers searched the area from the ground, a sheriff’s aviation crew circled overhead, using their helicopter’s public address system to call out for the missing woman, known only as Rose, and ask area residents to be on the lookout for the elderly victim.

Deputies, CHP officers, and firefighters help carry an 88-year-old woman to safety after she wandered away from home and was found deep in a brushy field several hours later. Hemet Sheriff’s Station photo

As word of the woman’s disappearance spread throughout the Anza Valley and darkness began to fall, area residents came out in droves to help search for the victim and many concerned citizens could be seen searching the area on foot and on horseback, as well as from off-road vehicles and their personal vehicles.

“Multiple, and I do mean multiple members of the community flooded the area to help first responders look for this nice lady,” officials later described in their social media post.

In the end, aviation crew members in the sheriff’s helicopter spotted the missing woman “deep in a brushy field,” according to authorities; who said deputies, officers, and firefighters hiked into the difficult terrain and brought the victim back out to safety.

Officials said the victim was checked out by paramedics before being returned home, and reported “on a side note,” that the plucky senior asked for, and was given, a sheriff’s badge sticker “when all was said and done.”

Gina Perrin, who posted information about the missing woman while the search was getting underway, later updated that officials had found the victim, writing, “There were so many people out looking for her. That was so awesome. Thank God they found her.”

Anza resident Laura Wiggins also later shared her thoughts about Thursday’s successful search and rescue, writing on social media, “The residents of Anza Valley may be divided in many ways, but when faced with an emergency, they stand united and work together.”

“Within a few short hours, a missing 88 year old lady was located. A sheriff’s helicopter and locals joined in the ground search,” Wiggins continued. “God is good, all the time and so are the residents of Anza when united for a common cause.”

Hemet Sheriff’s Cpt. Leonard Purvis later joined the online conversation and thanked all those from throughout the community who assisted in the successful search, writing on social media, “Excellent example of teamwork and community involvement. I’m proud of you all!”

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Hemet Sheriff’s Station photos

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.