By BEN MITCHELL
With few clues to go on, the Skamania County Sheriff's Office announced on Friday that it has suspended the search for a woman who has been missing since Dec. 1 and was still missing as of press time.
Gail Wietrick, 60, of Trout Lake, was picking mushrooms northwest of Mill A off Little Rock Creek Road the afternoon of Saturday, Dec. 1, when she reportedly got separated from her party at around 4:30. According to the SCSO, Wietrick's party searched for her throughout the night and into the next day before notifying law enforcement at 3 p.m. on Dec. 2.
Twenty searchers immediately set off to comb the densely forested area located approximately four miles northwest of Mill A and continued to search for her through the night. More searchers joined the group in the following days, but were ultimately unable to find any clues to Wietrick's disappearance.
Undersheriff Dave Cox said the SCSO suspended the search for Wietrick on the evening of Dec. 6, pending any new information about her disappearance.
"We've done a five-day extensive search that has led to nothing of her whereabouts," Cox said. "We went all over that place up there."
Cox described the area as "treacherous," with lots of brush and downed trees. The SCSO listed the elevation where Wietrick was last seen as 2,450 feet.
According to Cox, the only thing the search party did find was remnants of a small plane that he believed crashed sometime in the 1970s. He said the SCSO has little information about the crash as the Office's archives don't go back that far and nobody currently with the SCSO worked there in the 1970s.
"We have a serial number and that's about it," Cox said of the plane.
As for Wietrick, Cox said the SCSO doesn't have any working theories about what might have happened to her and admitted that the situation looked grim.
"I'm really afraid she's still out there," Cox said.
Anyone with information about Gail Wietrick should contact the Skamania County Sheriff's Office at 509-427-9490.