Two women got lost in the woods on Halloween—sounds like the start of a horror story, but luckily this one has a happy ending.
Realtor Sherry McCreary Neal was taking her client, Leslie Turner, to look at a property along Chumley Mountain Road in Tennessee on October 31. The property was in a remote, wooded area of Chumley Mountain, but still, with the help of an ATV, they thought it would be a relatively straightforward trip and they’d be back within a few hours.
That was until they got stuck in a tree and wrecked the ATV.
They were still 10 miles from the property. When they went to make a cellphone call they realized there wasn’t any signal, and soon the batteries went flat too, so there was no way to alert their families, according to Local8 News.
The only thing to do was to set off back down the dirt roads towards home. But as the afternoon light started to fade, they became increasingly disoriented by the maze of roads and ended up walking in the wrong direction.
“This is such a wide area when you get behind Cumberland Mountain there’s hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of acres,” Claiborne County Sheriff David Ray told WBIR.
“All the roads look the same. So I can only imagine what it looked like to a couple of ladies who hadn’t been back there.”
Now the women were lost, it was getting dark, and there were other things to worry about.
“You think about bears, you think about coyotes, because you could hear them in the background,” Neal recalled. “So we didn’t sleep very much.”
With just a bottle of water, Mountain Dew, and some chewing gum, to sustain them, the women bedded down for the night on some rocks and huddled together to keep warm.
Meanwhile, Neal’s sister was starting to wonder where the women had got to.
No one had heard from the women since 12:30 that day, and when they didn’t come back, the alarm was raised.
Amazingly, around 100 members of the local community gathered at Speedwell Freewill Baptist Church and began to look for the women. The county rescue squad was called in and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office even sent a helicopter out looking for them.
But they were nowhere to be seen.
“We heard the ATVs, but they didn’t hear us and they didn’t see us,” Neal told Local8 News.
So the women spent the night on the mountain, managing to get a couple of hours sleep.
The next morning, as the search resumed, the women set off again along the road. In total, they’d traveled around 8 miles. Luckily, a logger stumbled upon them. At first he thought the women were hunters, but soon realized the truth.
Knowing that they had been wandering the woods for nearly a day, the logger fed them and gave them water. Then he drove them down to the church where they were reunited with their families.
“It was scary, but I wasn’t as scared as I should have been,” Neal told Local8 News. “It wasn’t what I had planned.”
Turner, who has a medical condition according to Local8 News, was checked out by Emergency Medical Services while Neal made her way home. Fortunately, both women were perfectly healthy, albeit a touch cold and tired.
Neal and Turner were so thankful to get back safely and for the efforts of the local community to find them.
“I was amazed with how many people have shown up!” Neal told WBIR.
“I stayed remarkably calm the whole time,” Neal said. “But I think it’s because so many people were praying.”