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Search for missing woman focuses on I-90 corridor

By Kira Clark

SVR Staff intern

Hildegard Hendrickson, a friend and fellow Puget Sound Mycological Society member of North Bend resident Julia Benson, was reported as missing on June 11. The Seattle woman was last seen midday Saturday, June 8, near the Minnow Creek Trailhead in the Central Cascades, where she was hunting for mushrooms.

“We are just trying to find out if anyone has seen her,” Benson told the Record. “A lot of people from this area go up there. We want to get the word out in case anyone from the Valley sees anything.”

Benson asks anyone traveling up the I-90 corridor to keep an eye open for Hendrickson.

Hendrickson is 79, Caucasian, weighs 180 pounds and has gray hair and gray eyes. She was carrying a silver mushroom picking basket and a blue walking stick. Hendrickson was wearing a tan vest with a mushroom logo. Her vehicle is a green 2012 Ford Focus.

Hendrickson’s car was found unlocked with the windows ajar. Nothing was missing from her purse and her lunch was untouched.

Deputy Jean Ellis of the Chelan Police Department says that the department is totally perplexed. The search was suspended the night of June 16. Volunteers donated a combined 2,400 hours and searched for six days in a 360-degree perimeter of the burn area with seven trained search and rescue dogs. The effort did not produce any clues or leads. Certain areas were searched eight times. Deputy Ellis said that this search was one of the most thorough in his 24-year career in law enforcement. Detectives have not walked away from the case and are still looking for clues, but have suspended intensive efforts.

“It doesn’t do any good to search the ground that has been searched for seven or eight times,” Ellis said. “Where she is at right now is basically a mystery.”

In Ellis’ experience, most missing people are found alive within the first three days, or depending on outside variables, five to seven days.

Of the two dozen missing persons cases that Ellis has worked on in his a career, all but five were found within five to seven days. One body was found three years later and four cases are still unsolved.

Ellis cautions all hikers and mountaineers to travel in pairs.

“It is never a good thing to go out in the woods by yourself,” Ellis said. “Take a friend and take your cell phone.”

To leave a tip, call Chelan police at (509) 663-9911.


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