71-year-old Barbara Briley was to transport both herself as well as her granddaughter to a family reunion in Morven, North Carolina for Christmas. Both of them were found four days after the family declared them missing, on Wednesday, December 21st by local authorities. On Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation also deployed several agents who took part in the search.
According to the Virginia State Police, the elderly woman and her 5-year-old granddaughter were found inside their vehicle on a rural property at least a mile away from the nearest public roadway on Wednesday afternoon, shortly before 5 p.m.
Barbara Briley was rushed to the VCU Medical Center by helicopter for immediate care and medical evaluation. At the moment, information regarding her health remains undisclosed, as well as the circumstances that led to the incident.
Before a local resident spotted the Briley’s vehicle, a silver Toyota Rav4 SUV, the woman was last seen on Christmas Eve in Caroline County at an Exxon station. Surveillance footage captured that evening showed Ms. Briley entering the store at 5:39 p.m. Six minutes later she walks out, but returns at 5:51 and leaves again two minutes later. The vehicle she was driving, together with the two occupants were last seen on video at 6:06 when Ms. Briley pulled out of the gas station’s parking lot.
According to Joanna Strange, the gas station clerk, Barbara Briley went inside to ask for directions. Before sending the elderly woman on her way, Ms. Strange told the reporters that she helped her with the GPS.
However, one of Barbara Briley’s nieces says that the woman used to work as a driver for New Jersey Transit and was accustomed to the trip. Also, family members told authorities they had no knowledge of Ms. Briley displaying signs of bad health prior to the incident.
Mr. Briley’s family told the media they tried to contact the woman multiple times on her cellphone, but with no luck. However, on Tuesday, the search party’s efforts intensified when the woman’s cellphone pinged a nearby Sprint tower in Dinwiddie County, prompting local law enforcement officers to swipe the area between the county airport and Petersburg.
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