Elderly CK woman found alive in woods after 13 days

Vernita is no longer missing.

And amazingly, she’s OK.

After 13 days in the brush, 67-year-old Vernita Blanch Frazier, was found by Sheriff’s deputies Mike Shannon, Tiffany Bratrud and Krista McDonald, on Sunday, June 9, alive and reasonably well.

They were responding to a call from a neighbor who reported to CenCom that she had heard a woman calling for help.

Frazier was a bit dehydrated and cold, and covered with small scratches. She was found in brush so dense, officials said you couldn’t see the hand in front of your face.

All involved in the search were scratching their heads and over-using the word “amazing” about finding her still alive — and not dead of exposure. Nights got down into the 40s and there were a few days of cold rain.

“This is a good day,” said Sheriff Steve Boyer, “when you can call the relatives and give them good news. One of the deputies that found her commented that ‘Somebody was looking after her.’”

She was found about a quarter mile from her home, said Lt. Ned Newlin of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

“I just got off the phone with KOMO and the Associated Press,” he added. “A lot of people are amazed by this story.”

Among others, the effort to find her involved 80 to 100 Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue, and 145 Marines from the Marine Corps Security Force at Subase Bangor.

“We haven’t been able to get much information from her,” Newlin said. Frazier was taken to Harrison Hospital Bremerton for observation. At last report, she was doing well and was scheduled to be released soon. The deputy said she would be questioned later as she regained her strength.

He said officials do not suspect she was abducted.

Frazier, apparently wandered away from her home near Cascade Street and Dickey Road in Silverdale on Tuesday morning, May 28. The last time she was seen by anyone was Monday at about 11:30 p.m., at her home.

She was wearing a light blue or gray sweater and blue jeans at that time. She suffers from dementia, said Sheriff’s officials. Newlin said she has wondered off before, in a different state, but he had no details on this.

The Northwest Bloodhounds, German Shepherd Search Dogs, Washington Explorer Search & Rescue also joined the search over the past two weeks.

Even the dogs couldn’t find her, said Newlin.

But Boyer commented on the importance of teamwork.

“What was great about this was the collaboration,” he said. The deputies, the Marines ... everyone worked together on this one until she was found.”

Earlier in the week, Sgt. Earl Smith of the Sheriff’s Office, on-site at search headquarters in the Central Kitsap schools’ maintenance building on Dickey, was a bit discouraged. He said they had received no sightings and had no leads. Searchers were methodically looking within a one-mile radius.

The immediate areas around Frazier’s home contain many empty fields with tall grass and dense brush, as well as forest.

About 1,000 flyers were distributed with Frazier’s face and vital stats. Sheriff Steve Boyer credited the press with helping in finding her, among others.

“The woman who heard Vernita calling for help (Sunday) wouldn’t have called 911 if she hadn’t read about it in the newspapers,” he said.

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