INYO COUNTY, California — Multiple Central Valley sheriff’s offices are giving a helping hand to the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office to find a Southern California woman who disappeared Friday.
Meanwhile, Powell’s son and daughter are suspicious about the minutes leading up to her disappearance.
Sheryl Powell, 60, was last seen at the Grandview Campground in the Bristlecone Pine Forest area on July 12 — according to a Facebook post by the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office.
Powell’s husband reported her missing around 2 p.m. The sheriff’s office reports Powell got out of the couple’s vehicle with their dog in-hand once they selected a campsite for a bathroom break.
Her husband re-positioned the vehicle for about five minutes. After parking it, he couldn’t find Powell. He searched for her for almost an hour before making a call to the sheriff’s office.
“She was standing outside the car without any supplies and no plans to go anywhere,” Greg Powell, Sheryl’s son.
Ever since they learned the details of their mother’s disappearance Friday, Greg and his sister Farrah Powell have been scratching their heads.
“[It’s all] very confusing for us. [Greg and I] both thought, oh, they must’ve accidentally separated while they were hiking — but that clearly was not the case,” Farrah said.
Saying his parents take remote camping trips at least once or twice a month, Greg said it’s why he suspects something criminal could be behind what happened to his mother.
“It’s all very odd. She’s very strong, she’d know what to do,” he said. “There hasn’t been a trace.”
The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office activated mutual aid for help and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office was one of several to answer the call. They are joined by Mariposa and Tulare counties.
Sgt. Scott Weishaar — who is assigned to Fresno County Sheriff’s boating unit, search and rescue team and diving team — said a deputy and three volunteers left to help Saturday night.
Weishaar said mutual aid is commonly activated to get more people on the ground searching. Also, to get access specialized resources that may not be available to an agency.
“When weird things happen, there’s probably a resource somewhere in the state that can assist you with that,” he said.
Summer is typically prime time for mutual aid requests. Weishaar said volunteers help ensure local needs are met.
“We have a large pool of volunteers that are local and available to assist when calls do come out,” he said.
Those from Fresno County are expected to be in Inyo County through Monday, but there’s always the chance they could be staying longer.
Powell is from Huntington Beach. She is described as an experienced hiker, standing at 5’3″ and weighing 120 pounds. She has brown hair, brown eyes and she may be wearing a purple top.
The dog is described as small and has a red leash.