75-year-old Betty Baxter Simmons hasn’t been seen since September 5, but her car was found last week with a note saying “Tow to Berkeley.”
Evacuation warnings were issued early this week in parts of Humboldt County, as the long-running August Complex fire continues to affect the southern part of that county. That makes missing person cases even more troubling, and 75-year-old Berkeley resident Betty Baxter Simmons is indeed missing in that area. The Mercury News reports that Simmons’ car was found in Humboldt County last Thursday, on a rural road some 20 miles from Arcata.
The Merc adds that her car was found empty, with a note reading “Tow to Berkeley,” indicating that Simmons may have continued off on foot. While her abandoned car was found by a timber company employee, a Berkeley neighbor says Simmons has not been seen since September 5.
The Times-Standard in Eureka has the Humboldt County sheriff’s press release on the matter. “Deputies arrived at the location and observed evidence that the vehicle may have become stuck on the road after trying to turn around at a locked gate,” the release says. “It appeared that the vehicle may have been stuck there for some time. Inside the vehicle deputies located Simmons’ personal belongings. A search of the surrounding area for Simmons or any evidence of where she may have gone was conducted with no results.”
Simmons is described as a “white female, approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall, 156 pounds, with grey hair and hazel eyes.”
Missing and lost near a wildfire is a pretty harrowing situation, though we’ll point out that these cases do often have happy endings. A Palo Alto couple who vanished on Valentine’s Day weekend with no trace was found alive a week later in a forested area. The pair had become entangled and stuck in thorny brush not far from a house they had rented in Inverness, while on a hike.
Anyone who may have information on Simmons’ status or whereabouts is urged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251, or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.
Image: Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office