Search suspended for woman in SW Wash.

Search suspended for woman in SW Wash.

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by Associated Press and KGW staff

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kgw.com

Posted on June 15, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Updated Sunday, Jun 16 at 12:07 PM

STEVENSON, Wash. (AP) -- Officials suspended search efforts for 19-year-old Maureen Kelly of Vancouver after an exhaustive search in the dense Gifford Pinchot forest.

Searchers covered a four-square-mile area and found no trace of Kelly.

“We have utilized very professional search and rescue personnel during these operations”, said Undersheriff Dave Cox. “They are very well trained and we rely heavily on their expertise to search very difficult terrains in various weather conditions. For us to not be able to locate Ms. Kelly is very frustrating to everyone involved.”

Searchers resumed looking for Kelly who set out naked in a forest on a spiritual quest last weekend.

She walked away from the Canyon Creek Campground just after 5 p.m. on June 9 carrying only a knife and a fanny pack. She was reported overdue before daylight Monday.

Rescuers combed the area Monday and Tuesday but found no signs of Kelly, other than some bare footprints near a creek. They temporarily suspended the search Tuesday evening.

Cox told a news conference Saturday morning that authorities have no reason to think she couldn't have survived this long.

"Earlier in the week, of course, we had the weather move in, and in the evenings, it was in the mid-to-lower 40s with rain, so we are concerned about how she's doing as far as surviving," Cox said. 

About 75 volunteers were taking part in the search Saturday. They left from a command post at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument headquarters in Amboy.

Background: Search scaled back for missing, nude camper

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