The first intensive search for a local missing person this year, a case that commanded much attention throughout the area, ended on a positive note.
Following an extensive search for 39-year-old Dawn Bailey, who left her home in the Holiday Hills subdivision near Catamount Ranch last Tuesday, in extremely frigid temperatures, the apparent victim was discovered in Colorado Springs unharmed. Officials declined to release any details pertaining to the circumstances behind her discovery.
According to Mark Morlock, the head commander for the Teller County Sheriff’s Office, Bailey was found in a hotel in the Colorado Springs area on Thursday morning.
“Through our own investigation, and with the help of the Colorado Springs Police, we determined that she was in Colorado Springs,” said Morlock. “This turned out very well for us.”
Officials admit this situation could have taken an ugly turn due to the Arctic front that besieged the area in the middle of the week. Sheriff officials sent e-mails and facebook posts to media outlets and to key groups and people in the area, in an effort to find the reported lost person quickly. The time clock was clicking, if the victim was lost outdoors.
A big search began Wednesday after her live-in fiancé filed a missing persons’ report. Officials were informed that Bailey left her home in the Holiday Hills subdivision around noon on Tuesday and did not return. Moreover, concerns were escalated by reports that she was taking medication, which she had left at home when she left her residence; had experienced some mental health issues and had no known friends in the area. The victim was described as being a 5-foot-4, 155 pound, Asian-White woman, who was last seen wearing a black shirt and blue pants.
The biggest concerns dealt with the weather, with temperatures dipping into the single teens on Wednesday evening.
Crews were assembled by Teller County Search and Rescue for a large area between Woodland Park and Divide. Morlock estimates that search crews of 15 to 20 people conducted a detailed search of the Holiday Hills subdivision, the Catamount Reservoir, Edlowe Road and Ranch Estates area.
The search was temporarily suspended at midnight, with plans to begin the search again on Thursday morning, according to Morlock.
However, the discovery of the 39-year-old woman in Colorado Springs, enabled the sheriff’s department to call off the search.
Morlock said the agency appreciated all the cooperation they received and credits the media coverage and facebook posts as playing a big role in her discovery. Authorities received calls from residents who had seen Bailey’s picture, posted on media websites and shown in broadcasts at area television stations, according to sheriff officials.
Area survives winter blast unscathed
The discovery of Bailey could have occurred at a better time, with the region getting hit with one of its first cold snaps and winter storms for 2017. A search for Bailey in the Catamount Ranch area on Thursday would have posed some definite challenges
Luckily for Teller County, the area escaped relatively unscathed. Conditions were actually better in Teller County than in Colorado Springs and Denver, where many flights were cancelled at Denver International Airport.
Still, driving conditions were quite slick throughout Thursday in Woodland Park, and along key thoroughfares. Local merchants and business owners reported empty stores, with most people staying off the roads. Compared to other parts of Colorado, not many accidents were reported in Teller County.
The city of Woodland Park, though, didn’t take any chances and cancelled its scheduled council meeting on the evening of Jan. 5. This is the first time the city has cancelled one of its regular council meeting in recent years.