Gov. Jan Brewer’s 25-year-old niece was found safe early Thursday morning after spending a frigid night lost in the woods on the Mogollon Rim with a friend.
Coconino County search and rescue personnel rescued the pair around 3 a.m. Thursday after they spent hours wandering through the woods during a rain and snowstorm.
The pair was camping with two other friends in the area of 29 Mile Butte, roughly five miles west of the Highway 260 and 87 turnoff north of Payson.
Around 1 p.m. Wednesday, the group decided to go for a walk through the woods, bypassing any roads or trails. After a short while, two of the women in the group decided to turn around and go back to camp while Ms. Brewer and a 27-year-old man carried on for a short day hike.
By sundown, the pair had not returned.
One of the women at camp decided to drive out to the highway to get a cell phone signal and call her mother for help.
The mother directed the women to call Gary Morris, a volunteer with Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, for assistance.
Morris told her to call the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and he would drive up to Clints Well to meet her and wait until help arrived.
“The condition up there was rain and snow,” he said. “They weren’t exactly real good.”
Nearly a dozen searchers, including two K-9s and a helicopter, arrived by 12:30 a.m. and, several hours later, the pair was found safe, but suffering from hypothermia four miles east from camp. Neither was dressed for a stay in the woods, with the man wearing a Scottish kilt.