Missing Cassel woman, 71, found safe days after mental health crisis leads to her Redding arrest, then disappearance

SHASTA COUNTY, Calif., — A 71-year-old Cassel woman who disappeared in downtown Redding after she was arrested – and then released – following a reported confrontation with law enforcement officials has been found safe by family members. The woman’s arrest may have begun as confusion related to a hair appointment the woman thought she had, according to her family. After being found wandering lost and confused near a Redding business this afternoon, she was taken to an area hospital for a medical checkup and mental health evaluation.

Family and friends of the elderly woman who say she has been suffering from declining mental health and increasing confusion are now seeking answers as to why their loved one, who they say “was clearly suffering from a mental health crisis”, was arrested in the first place with her car being impounded, only to be released a few hours later “at night, alone and confused, with no car and a dead cell phone.”


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Family and friends of Diana Lea Lawrence began spreading word of her disappearance on Tuesday, the morning after her Monday evening, Feb. 21 arrest and subsequent release.

Within hours, numerous possible sightings had been reported and family members spent the last two days responding to each of the reported locations, eventually locating her this afternoon. She was found disheveled and confused about a mile from the jail facility where she had been last seen Monday evening and more than 70 miles from her Intermountain area residence.

Reaching out to family members today, SCNS learned that Lawrence had left her Cassel residence on Monday morning after telling her family she had a hair appointment in Redding.

Family members later learned that Lawrence did not have a hair appointment that day and that during some type of confrontation or altercation with employees at the hair salon officials were called to the scene. Although details are still sketchy at this point, officials ended up arresting Lawrence when, in her confusion, she resisted being detained, according to her family.

Although officials have not yet responded to a request for further information and details regarding the circumstances that led to Lawrence’s arrest, online jail records indicate she was booked into the downtown Redding jail facility by the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office at 5:19 p.m. on Monday evening. She was subsequently released on her own recognizance just under three hours later, at 8:18 p.m. Her arrest charges were not immediately available.

Diana Lawrence, 71, of Cassel, was found safe and unharmed this afternoon, two days after being released from the Shasta County Jail in Redding just hours after her arrest following confusion over a hair appointment. Lawrence family photo

“Her mental health is declining, and she went to Redding for a hair appointment that she didn’t actually have,” Lawrence’s niece, Blaike Dellara of Idaho, told SCNS today. She added that her aunt had told family members she needed to get her hair done “because she was going to be in a Clint Eastwood movie.”

“When she tried getting into the building police were called, and she resisted out of confusion. They also impounded her car,” she explained.

“But her mental health was clearly unstable, and she was obviously confused,” Dellara continued. “Then, she was held for just a few hours before being released at night, alone and confused, with no car and a dead cell phone.”

“Why would they have arrested her, and then just let her go in that condition,” she asked, adding, “Anything could have happened to her. This could have turned out so much worse.”

“I respect our men and women in blue one-thousand percent,” she went on to say. “But it’s situations like this when our system shows its cracks.”

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information becomes available.

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 51, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and operates Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS), which act as stringer-news providers for other mainstream media organizations throughout the two regions they serve.

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

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 30 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 18 grandchildren.