Missing Multnomah Falls hiker found

MULTNOMAH FALLS, Ore. – A 44-year-old Longview, Wash., woman who disappeared Thursday afternoon while hiking with family in the trails above Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge has been found.

The staging area for rescue crews searching for Connie Dooney, a 44-year-old Longview, Wash., woman, who went missing while hiking above Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013. (KOIN 6 News stringer photo)
(KOIN 6 News stringer)

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office reports that Connie Dooney was located by some civilian hikers at about 7:45 a.m. Friday on the Multnomah Falls Trail near Switchback 6 after spending a cold night alone. The hikers told 911 they recognized her as the missing woman from a search photo they had seen. The hikers gave Dooney a PowerBar and some water. She appeared to be in good condition, the sheriff’s office said. Rescuers brought her down to the falls and reunited her with her family at about 8:45 a.m.

Dooney had last been seen at about 4 p.m. Thursday on the Wahkeena Falls Loop Trail. She was hiking with her 18-year-old son and 17-year-old nephew when she decided to remain behind while they continued the hike up to Devil’s Rest.

“It took us a lot longer than we expected to get there, and she got worried and she went looking for us,” said Roark, Connie’s nephew.

When they came back to the area at about 8:30 p.m., she was gone. They returned to the Multnomah Falls Lodge and called 911.

Multiple sheriff’s office Search & Rescue teams began a search at 11:30 p.m. that continued into Friday morning, covering more than 12 miles of trails. A Portland police chopper was also searching from the air.

Dooney did not have the proper gear for an overnight stay on the trail, the sheriff’s office said. She did not have a cell phone.

Dooney told officials that when her son and nephew failed to return after an extended period of time she went looking for them. After not finding them, she decided to go back down the Wahkeena Trail, hoping that they had themselves come down using a separate trail. She passed the Multnomah Falls junction, continued on the Larch Mountain Trail, and ended up on a logging road as it started to get dark. She walked to the end of the road until it dead ended, and then stayed there overnight because she couldn’t see. During her walk, she fell once and suffered some small abrasions on her knee and a slightly twisted ankle.

The following morning, she made her way back to the Multnomah Falls Trail and eventually ran into the hikers.

Brent Weisberg contributed to this report.

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