Search crews found a Waukesha woman who went missing in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve near La Farge just after midnight Sunday morning.
Elizabeth R. Cooper, 31, was hiking in the reserve Saturday. She was in contact with her sister in the afternoon and told her sister she was lost before her phone died and no one could reach her. The last phone contact with Cooper was at 6:50 p.m., according to the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office.
The sister called the Vernon County Dispatch Center at 8:05 p.m. The La Farge Fire Department searched all hiking trails. Crews requested additional help after struggling to find her.
An aerial drone operated by the Richland County Sheriff’s Office detected a heat signal and guided personnel to Cooper’s location around 12:10 a.m. Sunday. She was found safe and refused medical treatment at the scene.
The Vernon County Sheriff’s Office thanked all the volunteer agencies and private citizens that assisted with the call. Manpower for a grid search was requested from the Viola Fire Department, Ontario Fire Department, Westby Fire Department, Cashton Fire Department, Hillsboro Fire Department, Yuba Fire, and Viroqua Fire Department. The Vernon County Department of Emergency Management was also on scene with a mobile command post and an aerial drone. The Richland County Sheriff’s office and Middleton Fire Department were requested for their aerial drone capabilities.
Sheriff John B. Spears reminded everyone to have a plan in place if hiking along to prevent any incidents from occurring.