PDT Staff Writer
A South Shore, Ky. woman, 32-year-old Kimberly Wesley, was reported missing early Saturday morning in Hanging Rock and was found safe hours later at a friend’s house in Portmouth.
Trooper Joshua Craft of the Ironton Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol was sitting on a parking lot on Ohio 650, mile post 1, talking with an officer from the Hanging Rock, Ohio Police Department when a van pulled onto the lot, and a man got out and approached the two officers.
“My friend went over the guardrail to use the restroom, and we waited around for a little while and she never did come out,” the man told the officers. “We called her name a couple of times, and gave up on her. We drove around a couple of times and we looked for her, and we decided to stop and talk with you guys for help.”
Craft said he and the police officer obtained all the information they could from the man, and took a woman who was with him to the last place where the missing woman had been seen.
“Our sergeant responded to the scene, and when he got there, we got everybody gathered up and Hanging Rock and the (Lawrence County) Sheriff’s Office came. The South Point Police Department came. We had an officer from the Huntington (West Virginia) Police Department, a K-9 handler, respond to the scene as well. He has a dog that specializes in human scent, so we tried to utilize that,” Craft said. “We were unable to locate her anywhere. We couldn’t see where she went in the woods. The dog didn’t hit on any indication where she went into the woods. So we continued walking around to try to find where she went down.”
Craft said the OSHP called local cab companies and hospitals and none had seen Wesley. After an approximately five-hour search, the day shift joined in, led by day shift supervisor Sergeant Chris Smith, who organized other agencies, including the Ironton Fire Department, several volunteer fire departments, and an airplane from the OSHP Aviation unit.
“They flew around the area,” Craft said. “And as we kept searching for her, the Kentucky State Police was able to find a residence where she was staying in Portsmouth. They were able to make contact with her, and this person who was supposed to be missing contacted us and said she was fine.”
Craft said the case is continuing to be investigated.
“With certain details of the case, we are going to send it to the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office, and the prosecutor can review our statements and all the evidence,” Craft said. “And the two people who were the reporting persons, there’s some issues there, and we’re going to take all of that stuff, and we’re going to take it down to the prosecutor, and let him make the determination on the charges, if he feels some charges can be filed there, because it was such a broad multi-agency search that took a lot of time.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.