Girl, grandmother found alive days after the disappearance in Virginia forest

This combination of photos released by the Hamilton Police Department in New Jersey shows Barbara the Crossings, left, and her 5-year-old great-granddaughter, La’Myra Crossings.


A New Jersey woman and her 5-year-old great-granddaughter were found alive in a remote forest in rural Virginia, apparently stranded there for days and survive on the snacks after disappearing on a vacation, researchers announced.

Seventy-one-year-old Barbara Crossings was unconscious when crews found her Wednesday afternoon with her great-granddaughter, La’Myra Crossings in Dinwiddie County at least a kilometer from the paved road, Virginia State Police said. The girl was reported to be alert and unharmed.


The two were in the area of their SUV, stuck on a dirt road on private property where a man found them, police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. The two apparently survived on snacks and drinks that they had brought, according to the researchers.

The owner had been spotted in the SUV from a distance and when he went to check, he found the two sitting nearby, authorities said. Maj. William Knott of the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Office said the man had seen news reports about the missing travelers, realized that the Brileys were and called 911.

“This person probably saved them,” Knott said.


The SUV, a silver Toyota RAV4, was more than a kilometer from the main road, WTVR reported.

The two had been the focus of a multistate search. The police said they did not believe foul play was involved in the disappearance. The county where the crew thought they were south of Richmond, Virginia, the capital.

Barbara the Crossings was flown by helicopter to VCU Medical Center in Richmond where she was in serious condition, police said. Authorities say the child appeared alert and uninjured, and receive a medical evaluation before being reunited with family members.

Barbara the Crossings was “not respond to questions” when the authorities came, but Knott said the child was “in good condition and very talkative” and since then he has been reunited with a family member.

The Brileys had left New Jersey on christmas Eve to visit family in North Carolina, but never arrived. They were last seen last weekend at a gas station in Ruther Glen, Virginia, about 30 miles north of Richmond.

Camera footage from the gas station shows Barbara the Crossings walk in about 5:40 a.m., Saturday. She leaves and again before he finally pull away, just after 6 a.m., authorities said.

Gas station clerk Joanna Strange told the local media that the Crossings came in to say that she was lost, and she helped the woman with her GPS for the Crossings went on her way.

The police said that the evidence points to the Crossings have pulled up on a dirt road, which they followed for a short distance into the forest, in Dinwiddie County. There she drove over a small tree and got stuck in a remote part of the building when she tried to back up, police said.

Family members have said Barbara Crossings was a former director for the New Jersey Transit and made the long trip many times. They also said that they do not have any known medical problems.

A family member of the Crossings is reached by The Associated Press refused comment, and VCU Medical Center did not immediately return a message.

Lt. Travis Nutter of the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, which released the video, said nothing in the footage to indicate any kind of suspicious activity at the gas station where the travelers were seen.

“That video was the last anyone saw her,” he had said.

State troopers had sought in the near Ruther Glen area and along the Interstate 85 corridor from south of the Virginia capital of Richmond to the North Carolina line, state police spokesman Sgt. Stephan Vick said.

They used a helicopter and hunted for the signs of the railing of damage or other evidence that a vehicle run off the road, ” he said.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol also assisted in the search. The research was led by Hamilton Township, New Jersey, where the police, which may not immediately return messages seeking comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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