UPDATE: Woman Lost in Woods for 12 Days Shares Survival Story

By: Rahel Solomon Email
By: Rahel Solomon Email
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UPDATE 8/19/13 @ 11:35 p.m.
BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A patient at Boone Memorial Hospital is living to tell a story even she says she thought she’d never tell.

“At times I thought I was going to die,” Charlene Hankins said.

Hankins had been missing for 12 days when she was discovered Monday.

Hankins said she was driving to her mother's house in Oceana when her car ran out of gas deep down an isolated road in the Twilight area of Boone County.

She had no food, no water and tried to get help, but instead she got lost.

“God, just let me sleep a lot, and I got there up on the mountains and I praised the Lord," Hankins said.

State police and firefighters searched for the missing woman for hours Sunday but found no sign of her. On Monday, though, a neighbor who's familiar with that area thought maybe he could help and made the discovery.

“It's a miracle. There's no way that should have happened the way it did, and she's fine,” said Mark Miller, the man who found Hankins.

Miller said Hankins was bruised, scratched and swollen, but her spirits were high.

“You could tell she was weak and all, but she was the happiest woman you’d ever meet in your life,” Miller said.

Battered but determined, Hankins said she’s still planning on visiting her mother when she's released from the hospital.

“This is for you, Mom,” Hankins said as she blew a kiss, “I'll see you shortly.”



UPDATE 8/19/13 @ 7:35 p.m.
BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The desperate search for a woman who disappeared nearly two weeks ago had a happy ending.

Charlene Morgan-Hankins was found by an ATV rider Monday morning in the Twilight area of Boone County.

She was dehydrated but in good condition overall.

“There was so many things that ran through my head,” daughter Aubrey Morgan said. “You know, is she dead? Is she out there? Is she hungry?”

It had been nearly two weeks since anyone had seen Charlene. Late last week, her car was found down an old mining road near Twilight in Boone County. The tank was empty, and there was no sign of Charlene.

“I didn't know what to think but we had to try and look anyways,” Aubrey said. “Thank God, we did.”

That looking paid off. This morning, 18 year old Mark Miller searching on his ATV. Found Charlene a few miles from where her car had been discovered. Charlene's family says... He was a Godsend.

“I just wanna hug him,” daughter Rebecca Horton said. “Mark Miller, thank you so much.”

Mark had packed food and drink -- the first Charlene had in 12 days, until Mark got her to the ambulance that would take her to Boone Memorial Hospital. But not before seeing some of her closest family.

“I seen the back of her head and I knew that was her,” Aubrey said. “I said, 'That's my momma, that's my momma.' ”

Charlene's journey took her up and down the mountain. She fell, losing her shoes and getting scraped and bruised. But her family says her story is one of faith and perseverance.

“Never give up,” Rebecca Horton said. “Trust in the Lord. Pray with all you've got.”

The mantra for not Charlene, but her family as well.

“Did you ever lose hope?” WSAZ.com asked Aubrey.

“No,” Aubrey said. “No," indicating hope and faith that paid off for this family.



UPDATE 8/19/13 @ 2:45 p.m.
BOONE COUNTY, W.Va (WSAZ) -- A woman who was found after being missing for nearly two weeks said she survived off berries and mushrooms.

Charlene Morgan-Hankins, 55, was found Monday morning in the Twilight area of Boone County by someone on an ATV.

She was reported missing after leaving a nursing home near Chief Logan State Park around 6:30 p.m. on August 7.

Hankins told crews that found her that she was trying to reach Oceana and her GPS sent her to Twilight.

She said she ran out of gas and spent the first night in her car.

Crews found her car on Sunday. The gas tank was empty and the keys were still inside.

She told crews she tried to walk to find help, but ended up lost in the woods.

Hankins told crews she lived off berries and mushrooms and tore off the sleeves of her shirt to start a fire.

She was dehydrated but otherwise in good condition. Hankins was taken to Boone Memorial Hospital.

Hankins' family says she lives in Tennessee, but is originally from Mingo County, West Virginia.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 8/19/13 @ 12 p.m.
BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A woman reported missing more than a week ago has been found alive.

W.Va.State Police tell WSAZ.com that Charlene Morgan-Hankins, 55, was found late Monday morning in the Twilight area of Boone County by a person on an ATV.

She was dehydrated but otherwise in good condition. Hankins is being taken to the hospital to be checked out.

No other details have been released at this time.

Family members say she was last seen on August 7 at a nursing home near Chief Logan State Park at about 6:30 p.m.

Her car was found in a secluded part of Twilight in Boone County on Saturday. The tank was reportedly empty, and her keys were still inside the ignition, but there was no sign of Hankins.

Sunday, W.Va. State Police and members of the Van Fire Department searched the area where the car was found.

Hankins' family says she lives in Tennessee, but is originally from Mingo County, West Virginia.

We have a crew in Boone County. Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 8/18/13 @ 6 p.m.
BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – The car of a woman reported missing for 10 days has been found in a rural area of Boone County.

Family members say Charlene Morgan-Hankins, 55, was last seen on August 7 at a nursing home near Chief Logan State Park at about 6:30 p.m.

Hankins was driving a white, 2005 Nissan Sentra with Tennessee plates.

"It's just been devastating, it's been a roller coaster," Rebecca Horton, Hankins' daughter, said. "We don't know if she's alive or dead; if she's been abducted."

A tip led West Virginia State Police and Van firefighters to a secluded part of Twilight in Boone County where they found her car on Saturday. The tank was reportedly empty, and her keys were still inside the ignition, but there was no sign of Hankins.

Sunday, troopers and members of the Van Fire Department searched the area where the car was found.

"It's very out of the ordinary for my mother to be missing for ten days with no contact with anyone and especially to be on a road like this," Horton said.

Hankins' family says she lives in Tennessee, but is originally from Mingo County, West Virginia. They can't understand why her car would be in the area where it was found.

"We don't know if she just got lost with GPS, or was just trying to make her way on Route 85 toward Oceana where her mother lives," Stephen New, Hankins' nephew, said.

State Police say it's too early to rule out foul play, but that there were no signs of a struggle in Hankins' car.

Hankins is 4’11”, 160 pounds with green eyes and light brown hair with blonde highlights. Family members say she walks with a slight limp to due unrelated automobile accident.

Anyone with information on Charlene is asked to call W.Va. State Police or 911.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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