Essex, Vt.- “The whole thing is, start broad and work your way down to narrow,” said Colchester Police Lieutenant Douglas Allen.
That's how police approached the seven hour search for Mona Uckele.
“She was very confused, very upset. she was in various stages of being disrobed, which is not uncommon for people to go through certain medical conditions including hypothermia,” Allen said.
Police say she was found in a rugged and tangled ravine in the woods in Essex.
When her family reported her missing after midnight Friday, they mentioned she had medical conditions including dementia.
“The dementia issue was certainly a factor in us ramping things up,” Allen said,
“In the day time, a missing adult of their own volition, it wouldn't have this kind of response, but for someone who is not able to care for themselves properly, and certainly her welfare was pretty quickly determined to be in jeopardy,” Allen said.
A key to find Uckele was actually in her pocket.
Police used a signal ping from her cell phone earlier in the day.
“We were able to establish a fairly narrow search area, even though it took us hours to find her, that search corridor was very helpful in plotting where we could find her,” Allen said.
Eight different agencies working together made the search as efficient as possible.
“Everything kind of played a role, with the technical rescue coming in to bring some ATVs in; we were able to eliminate certain areas quickly,” Allen said.
New England Canine found Uckele. Allen says this experience only makes them better.
“Every one of these is a learning experience,” Allen said. “We've already had one debrief to see what things could have been done differently or better,”
Uckele was transported to Fletcher Allen Medical Center, where she currently is still being medically evaluated,