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Missing Farmington woman, dogs found alive

Posted at 5:37 AM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 23:29:24-04

FARMINGTON, Utah — A missing Farmington woman with dementia is recovering in the hospital after spending the night lost in the backcountry above her home with two dogs.

Two dog leashes left at the base of this Farmington trailhead above her home were the only sign of 54-year-old Laura Waldren 30 hours after she was last seen.

"That was the most hopeful sign when that was discovered late last night,” said Mike Waldren, Laura’s brother-in-law.

According to police, Waldren frequently hiked the mountain trails of east Farmington, along with Lagoon Trail, Farmington Pond, and Woodland Park.

Waldren suffers from early-onset dementia. Mike Waldren ​says this added to the anxiety of waiting for her to be found.

“If she got off a trail she’s not familiar with, we aren’t confident that she would have the capacity to get back to a spot that she recognizes,” said Mike.

About 100 search and rescuers combed the Farmington mountainside in tough conditions Wednesday night and again Thursday.

"So it’s hot today and the terrain. These mountains, deep canyons and a lot of canopy so the foliage is a hinderance to us,” said Davis County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Taylor West.

Around 3:30 p.m., 6,500 feet up near the top of Hornet Creek in thick brush, the mother and two dogs were found alive by search crews in a helicopter.

"This is fabulous. This is what we work for and come to work everyday,” said Farmington Police Chief Wayne Hansen.

Considering Laura spent a cold night and a hot day on the mountain, she only suffered bumps, bruises and a sunburn. This helicopter hoisted her off the mountain.

"She was conscious, alert, talking to the team. Both dogs were happy to see people,” Chief Hansen said.

Laura was brought here to the Davis County Sheriff’s office where an ambulance was waiting to take her to the hospital.

Crews hiked up to bring the dogs down on foot.