A travel nurse practitioner from Michigan went missing a week ago and was last spotted near a hiking trail in Arnold, California.
When 66-year-old Ann Herford, FNP, didn’t show up for work at Adventist Health in Sonora, California, on November 14, her co-workers became concerned.
“That’s not like her,” Anna Wettengel told KCRA, a Sacramento television station, adding that calls to her cell phone went directly to voicemail.
Herford, who had been staying at the Best Western in Sonora, south of Arnold, was reported missing on November 15, Sgt. Chad Poortinga, of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, told MedPage Today.
Herford reportedly told a friend over breakfast the previous weekend that she was interested in hiking, according to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office. A resident reportedly saw Herford near the trailhead for the Arnold Rim Trail, where her car was found by a California Highway Patrol trooper the day she was reported missing. Neighbors said it had been parked there since Sunday, according to KCRA.
That same day, the sheriff’s office and other law enforcement agencies began to search the area near the trail. By the next day, the search team had grown to include 64 people, three canine teams, two unmanned aerial vehicles, and nine e-bikes.
The sheriff’s office also asked anyone in the Lakemont subdivision, which surrounds the Arnold Rim Trail, to “check their immediate property and outbuildings,” according to their press release.
Search efforts continued through the weekend. By Saturday, the number of searchers had nearly doubled. However, an aerial search had to be cut short due to poor weather conditions.
On Sunday, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team deployed additional search teams. Along with the ground search and air search — which also included a helicopter — “high angle rope teams” also canvassed the area.
Herford’s nephew, Brandon Neal, told KCRA that he’d hiked with his aunt many times, and while she loved to explore new areas, she never stayed out past dark.
Poortinga characterized the Arnold Rim Trail as difficult in parts.
“There are a lot of inclines out there, a lot of drainages, and some areas are dense in brush and can be difficult for searchers to navigate through,” he told KCRA.
Poortinga, when asked about Herford’s mental health, told MedPage Today, “there’s nothing at this point that indicates there’s any foul play involved … We think at this point that this was strictly an accident that has occurred.”
Wettengel said when she first met Herford, “she had the biggest smile on her face … She was super excited to come in and help out any way she could.”
“I’m hoping Ann knows we really care and are hoping for the best possible outcome,” Wettengel said.
As of 3:30 p.m. PST on Monday, Poortinga reported no new updates in the search.