Search teams find items possibly belonging to missing hiker

Created: 08/01/2014 5:35 PM
By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4

There were encouraging signs in the search for a missing 75-year-old woman who disappeared while hiking on Windsor Trail near the Santa Fe Ski Basin on Wednesday.

On Friday, search and rescue teams said they narrowed their search to an area where they discovered two walking poles that possibly belong to Audrey Richman Kaplan. She was hunting for mushrooms with her husband on Wednesday.

Investigators said he took a break and she hiked off on her own. He called police after he waited for her at the trailhead but she never showed up.

"She did not have the appropriate gear or clothing for what she did," said her friend Judy Allison. "But she might have the right instincts."

Investigators said Kaplan was only wearing shorts and a long sleeve shirt. Allison said they now believe she also had a poncho which would provide protection from the elements. She had been hiking in the area before.

"She also is very willful and that's also maybe a very positive thing for her survival is that she's very independent and a smart woman," said Allison.

Cloud cover grounded the search helicopter on Friday, but more than 60 people spread out across the challenging mountain terrain.

"The weather's not helping," said Bob Rodgers, with New Mexico State Police Search and Rescue. "With the rains that we've been having, especially last night, we got an inch of rain which wipes out the chance for tracks or anything we can find."

Kaplan is 5-feet-four-inches tall, weighs 125 pounds and has strawberry blonde hair and brown eyes. She was last seen carrying two walking poles and a plastic Trader Joe's shopping bag.

"I've been doing this for over 20 years and I've seen some outstanding things with people who actually survive for a lot longer than that with little or no gear," said Rodgers.

Anyone with information about her whereabouts is urged to call (505)-827-9300.

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