Miss­ing New Jersey fam­ily mem­bers found alive in Vir­ginia

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - BY SARAH RANKIN

RICH­MOND | A New Jersey woman and her 5-year-old great-grand­daugh­ter have been found alive in se­cluded woods in ru­ral Vir­ginia, ap­par­ently stranded there for days af­ter dis­ap­pear­ing on a hol­i­day road trip, author­i­ties said.

Bar­bara Bri­ley, 71, was un­con­scious when she was found Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon with her great-grand­daugh­ter La’Myra Bri­ley in Din­wid­die County at least a mile from a paved road, Vir­ginia State Po­lice said. The girl was re­ported to be alert and un­hurt.

Po­lice spokes­woman Corinne Geller said the two were near their ve­hi­cle, stuck on a dirt road on pri­vate prop­erty, where a man found them. Author­i­ties said it ap­pears the two had snacks and drinks to get by.

The Bri­leys had been the fo­cus of a multistate search, and po­lice added that no foul play was sus­pected in the dis­ap­pear­ance. The county where the two were found is in an area south of Rich­mond, Vir­ginia’s cap­i­tal.

Bar­bara Bri­ley was flown by heli­copter to VCU Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Rich­mond, where she was in se­ri­ous con­di­tion, po­lice said. Author­i­ties said the child re­ceived a med­i­cal eval­u­a­tion be­fore be­ing re­united with a fam­ily mem­ber.

The prop­erty owner spot­ted the car from a dis­tance and went to check on it, author­i­ties said. Maj. Wil­liam Knott of the Din­wid­die County Sher­iff’s Of­fice said the man had seen news re­ports about the miss­ing trav­el­ers, re­al­ized who the Bri­leys were and called 911.

“This per­son prob­a­bly saved them,” Maj. Knott said.

The Bri­leys had left New Jersey on Christ­mas Eve to visit rel­a­tives in North Carolina but never ar­rived. They were last seen Satur­day at a gas sta­tion in Ruther Glen, Vir­ginia, about 30 miles north of Rich­mond.

Sur­veil­lance video from the gas sta­tion shows Bar­bara Bri­ley walk­ing in­side about 5:40 p.m. Satur­day. She ex­its and re-en­ters be­fore even­tu­ally pulling away just af­ter 6 p.m., author­i­ties said.

Gas sta­tion clerk Joanna Strange told lo­cal me­dia that Ms. Bri­ley came in­side to say she was lost and she then helped the woman with her GPS be­fore Ms. Bri­ley went on her way.

Po­lice said the ev­i­dence points to Ms. Bri­ley hav­ing pulled onto a dirt road, which she then fol­lowed a short dis­tance into the woods in Din­wid­die County.

There she drove over a small tree and got stuck in a re­mote area of the prop­erty when she tried to back up, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

Fam­ily mem­bers have said Bar­bara Bri­ley was a for­mer driver for New Jersey Tran­sit and had made the long trip nu­mer­ous times. They also said she didn’t have any known med­i­cal is­sues.

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