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A 68-year-old US woman with dementia survived in a car trapped in snow for six days, and no one knows how

Kelly McLaughlin , Business Insider US
 Jan 17, 2020, 09:35 PM
Paula Beth James and her rescue.
  • Paula Beth James, 68, was found alive in her Toyota 4Runner near Butte Meadows, in Butte County, California, on Wednesday.
  • James, who family members say has dementia, had been missing for six days.
  • The Butte County Sheriff's Office said James' SUV had gotten stuck in the snow about 150 yards off a road, but it's unclear how she survived for so long.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A 68-year-old woman with dementia was found alive in a snow-covered car in Northern California after officials spent six days looking for her.

Paula Beth James was found on Wednesday in her Toyota 4Runner near Butte Meadows, in Butte County, California, CNN reported. Her vehicle was spotted during a helicopter search of the area.

A spokesperson at the Butte County Sheriff's Office told CNN that James' SUV had gotten stuck in the snow about 150 yards off a road.

She was conscious and talking when she was found and was taken to Enloe Medical Center in Chico, California, for treatment.

"We are all grateful for this fortunate outcome and wish her a speedy recovery," the spokesperson said.

James' family told officials that the 68-year-old is in the early stages of dementia, according to the Los Angeles Times.

How she survived remains a mystery.

"It just felt like we were doomed," her stepdaughter, Laura Powell, told KTXL. "So, it was just literally a miracle that those guys found her in just the nick of time."

It's unclear where James was headed when she got stuck in the snow, but officials believe she may have been meeting a friend for lunch, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Butte County Sheriff's Office deputies and search and rescue teams spent 100 hours searching for James, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"I just am so thankful for the relief that everyone is going to have tonight knowing that she's safe and warm and fed and we'll get to bring her home soon," Powell told KTXL.

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