California woman stranded in woods survives on yogurt, snow, officials say

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A California woman who became stranded in the wilderness survived for six days with hardly any food and water by rationing yogurt and eating snow, officials said. 

Justin Lonich, 48, and Sheena Gullett, 52, were driving to their hometown of Little Valley, 250 miles north of Sacramento, on April 14 on dirt roads off Highway 44, the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office said. 

Their vehicle got stuck in the snow during heavy snow, prompting them to spend the night inside. In the morning, the battery was dead. 

The pair tried walking back to the highway but the soles of Gullett’s boots came off, causing her to fall behind, officials said. At some point, they became separated. 

Lonich went back and was unable to find her. He built a campfire and continued walking the next day, April 17, and came upon a gravel road and hitched a ride to Susanville and reported what happened. 

 The sky is seen with an orange hue along Interstate 44 during the Dixie Fire in Lassen County, California Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. A woman who became stranded near the roadway survived for six days in the woods on yogurt and snow, officials said. 
(Getty Images)

Authorities were initially unsuccessful in finding Gullett because Lonich was not familiar with the area or woods and roads the pair had been traveling on, officials said. 

Sheriff’s deputies and the U.S. Forest Service conducted searches each day without success. 

On April 20, Gallett was found around 3 p.m. in the vehicle. She said she saw a helicopter fly over a few days earlier but she wasn’t spotted in the heavily wooded area. 

“Immediately upon his arrival, Sheena came out of the vehicle,” the sheriff’s office said.  “She was very emotional, but physically okay.”

She was taken to the Bogard Ranger Station to be evaluated by medical personnel.

“During the six days Sheena was stranded, she rationed a six-pack of yogurt, eating one per day,” officials said. She did not have any water and had been eating snow.”


Gallett was found safe and is back at home, authorities said. 

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