MANCHESTER — An area woman who had been reported missing a week ago and was the subject of an exhaustive search has been found alive.
Police said Anne M. Dickinson, 67, was found around 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 30, over 3 miles away from her Torrey Knoll apartment where she had last been seen. Dickinson had set up a small camp at the opposite end of Richville Road near Suburban Propane, behind an embankment.
The day before, Manchester Police parked their cruisers at Suburban Propane to begin their search of the Vermont Railway tracks. Using e-bikes to cover more ground, police searched the tracks as far north as Union Street and as far south as Sunderland, according to police Lt. James Blanchard.
Upon returning, the police were flagged down by an employee at Suburban, who asked police if they were searching for the missing woman.
Police learned that employees at Suburban allowed Dickinson to use their phone at around 1:45 p.m. on Sept. 21, and another employee had seen her at about 4 p.m. about 100 yards north of Suburban on the tracks.
“This was all two days before anybody knew she was missing,” said Blanchard. “There were no notices or bulletins, and they did not think anything about it.”
In the initial search, Manchester Police Chief Patrick J. Owens sought the assistance of police K-9 units with Vermont Search and Rescue and New England K-9 Search and Rescue, who combed the area along the Vermont Railway tracks and were able to locate her within about 20 minutes.
Dickinson was awake, alert and appeared to be in good health, police said. She had access to tree cover, weather-appropriate clothing and a sleeping bag, Blanchard said.
Dickinson was taken to Southern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington as a precaution. She stayed hydrated refilling a water bottle in a nearby stream, but had not eaten much over the past nine days.
Dickinson’s trek of over 3 miles on foot is all the more remarkable, considering she had recently had knee surgery that had hindered her mobility, according to her friend, Cara Boshart.
“It’s incredibly surprising that this was the outcome,” said Blanchard. “But even more so that she walked herself out.”
Dickinson had been reported missing and entered into the National Crime Information Center as a missing person by Manchester Police on Sept. 23.
Earlier this week, officers from the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as Dorset, East Dorset and Arlington Fire departments joined Manchester Police and Fire departments in search efforts in the area just south of the Battenkill River on Richville Road, near the Vermont Railway tracks. Searchers took to the Battenkill in kayaks, as well as looking through dense overgrowth in the area.
Police said she had last been seen in that area on Sept. 16 to 17.