CA CA - Sandra Hughes, 53, Sierra National Forest/Madera Co, 26 Jun 2020

Discussion in 'Missing Persons Discussion' started by mlhenn, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. capitola51

    capitola51 Well-Known Member

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  2. capitola51

    capitola51 Well-Known Member

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    Couple of questions. Could you provide a link to a description of the trashed campsite? I couldn't find anything detailed. Also, how do you know the crash followed the site disturbance and not the other way round?
     
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  3. mlhenn

    mlhenn Well-Known Member

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    Here’s one link that includes a description of her campsite.

    The Sandra Johnsen Hughes disappearance in Sierra National Forest — StrangeOutdoors.com

    “The campsite found in the Johnson Meadows area (between Beasore and Minaret Rds) with her belongings was quite disheveled. Things thrown about all over - almost as if her car and belongings had been emptied carelessly”. Ashley said the state of the campsite was very unusual, “she would never leave her campsite a mess. Even a piece of litter on the ground would bother her. “

    If you notice in the description of her campsite, her niece states, “almost as if her car and belongings had been emptied carelessly.
    That makes me think items normally in her car were found thrown about at the campsite.


    Further along in the article it states:
    Hikers reported seeing Sandra on July 4 and said she was barefoot and had a bruise on her face and they offered to help her but she declined medical assistance.

    Although, it doesn’t specifically state the condition the hikers saw Susan in was due to wrecking her car, I feel like it’s highly likely.

    With all that being said, I guess it is just as possible that she wrecked her car on the 4th, made it back to her campsite (or someone else came upon her campsite) at some point before it was found trashed on the 5th.

    To Add:
    The link also provides a map that shows where her campsite was in relation to where her car was found.
    I’ll keep looking for other links; hope this helps some. :)

    ETA: found another link
    Log In or Sign Up to View Madera Sheriff’s Office

    According to LE’s post,
    On July 2nd, other hikers found her camping gear and supplies abandoned and strewn about near Johnson Meadows. They contacted MCSO to report found property.
    After receiving the report we contacted Hughes’ family.

    ....

    Note: Not stating as fact:
    By reading info from the previous article and this report, it seems that possibly hikers found some of Sandra’s things strewn about on July 2. Then family was notified. On July 4, other hikers saw Sandra barefoot & bruised. By July 5, her niece had seen the campsite trashed and LE had found her wrecked car. Possibly the sequence of these events??
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2021
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  4. capitola51

    capitola51 Well-Known Member

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    This has been a tough one to put together, thanks for your postings so far. I have been through all reports including all those referenced in this thread plus a thorough web search.
    SH’s niece made a social media post that included the wording “…almost as if her car and belongings had been emptied carelessly…” and subsequently many media and news pages picked up on that possibly inaccurate wording and they are all over the place with dates, so I favored the Facebook posts from Madiera County Sherrifs Office (MCSO), and 775 Offroad & Recovery and ended up with this timeline:
    June 26 2020 Last heard from by her family
    July 2nd 2020 Johnson Meadows. Other hikers found her tent, camping gear and supplies abandoned and strewn about.
    July 5th 2020 (afternoon) car found by a non profit offroad team near Chiquito trailhead. 775 O & R posted on FB “this was a far one”. They noted that the vehicle was “wrecked into a tree and rolled back into a ravine” (<Log into Facebook> and scroll down to July 5, 2020).
    July 7th 2020 MCSO FB post “She has been sighted by others on foot since the vehicle was located.”
    July 9th 2020 “spotted this past Sunday, 8/9/2020, along Road 5S01 near Portuguese Creek”
    August 9 2020 hunters sighting 5s01 nr beasore - chiquito creek nr portugese overlook (noticeably thinner) (possibly mistaken identity)
    July 21st 2021 Ghost sighting at Shuteye Peak (anecdotal)
     
  5. mlhenn

    mlhenn Well-Known Member

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    @capitola51
    Great post; very thorough! :)
    I’ll keep digging as well

    ETA:
    What are your thoughts on the hikers seeing Sandra barefoot and bruised on July 4?
    Asking because I didn’t see it included in your timeline.
     
  6. capitola51

    capitola51 Well-Known Member

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    There are two reports of SH sightings - the one in StrangeOutdoors <The Sandra Johnsen Hughes disappearance in Sierra National Forest — StrangeOutdoors.com> referring to a 'bruised and barefoot' SH (but does not give location and their map is wrong) and one in the MCSO FB post of July 26 mentions the hikers <Log into Facebook> encounter on the 4th July, so we can add that very useful data point to the timeline, thanks for pointing it out.
    I will add now that I have seen the picture of the car location where it “hit a tree and rolled back into a ravine” it would seem that SH may well have been injured or even unconscious for a time after the initial impact, and therefore unable to control or stop the roll back. LE noted the air bag had not gone off and quoted a minimum deployment speed, but Saabs are well designed tough cars and the impact has deformed the girder-like front fender, so that’s not a trivial impact and could have been a fair bit more than 20mph. I note that airbag deployment is not speed related - if someone smashes into you while you are waiting at a light you will want the air bags to work. So while whether or not an air bag deploys can be a useful guide for LE to estimate general impact speed, strictly speaking air bag deployment is not based on speed, but contingent on the deceleration rate and direction during an impact.
     
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  7. capitola51

    capitola51 Well-Known Member

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    Updated timeline MOO
    June 26 2020 Last heard from by her family
    July 2nd 2020 Johnson Meadows. Other hikers found her tent, camping gear and supplies abandoned and strewn about.
    July 4th 2020 Encountered by hikers unknown at or near crash site close to Chiquito trailhead.
    July 5th 2020 (afternoon) car found by a non profit offroad team near Chiquito trailhead. 775 O & R posted on FB “this was a far one”. They noted that the vehicle was “wrecked into a tree and rolled back into a ravine” <Log into Facebook> and scroll down to July 5, 2020.
    July 7th 2020 MCSO FB post “She has been sighted by others on foot since the vehicle was located.”
    July 9th 2020 “spotted this past Sunday, 8/9/2020, along Road 5S01 near Portuguese Creek”
    August 9 2020 hunters sighting 5s01 nr beasore - chiquito creek nr portugese overlook (noticeably thinner) (possibly mistaken identity)
    July 21st 2021 Ghost sighting at Shuteye Peak
     
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  8. 10ofRods

    10ofRods Verified Anthropologist

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    Thank you all for keeping this story alive.
     
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  9. mlhenn

    mlhenn Well-Known Member

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    Tentative timeline based solely on LE’s post:
    Log In or Sign Up to View

    Log In or Sign Up to View

    June 26, 2020
    •Sandra last seen by family
    July 2, 2020
    Location:
    near Johnson Meadow
    •hikers find camping gear, sleeping bag, & supplies abandoned
    •findings are reported to MCSO; in return contacts family
    July 4, 2020
    Location:
    near Chiquito Lake Trailhead
    •hikers spotted Sandra, noting she was barefoot & bruised
    July 5, 2020
    Location: ??

    •her campsite was found abandoned and in disarray
    Location: Rd 5S04 (1 mile north of Chiquito Trailhead; 6 miles north of her camp)
    •her car was found abandoned & wrecked
    August 9, 2020
    Location:
    along Rd 5S01 (near Beasore Rd, near Portuguese Overlook)
    •possible sighting of a much thinner Sandra


    Again, this timeline is solely based on information provided by MCSO in the two links above.
    I did not provide a location for her campsite because I didn’t see that info provided in any of the two posts (and I am unfamiliar with the area).
     
  10. capitola51

    capitola51 Well-Known Member

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    Here is the direct link to the pictures of the Saab crash site above Chiquita trailhead.
    <Facebook>
     
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  11. TootsieFootsie

    TootsieFootsie Well-Known Member

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  12. JMapes

    JMapes Well-Known Member

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    The distance from where Sandra's vehicle was found (at Chiquito trailhead) to the Fresno Crossing/River Knolls Rd area is roughly 50 miles, and it is not an easy trek! Eagerly waiting to hear more.
     

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  13. Ajai Baktar

    Ajai Baktar Well-Known Member

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    I respectfully disagree. It wouldn’t be that difficult for an avid hiker who’s fit. 50 miles is not much for hikers. In that terrain 3 days maybe 4. Remember she was likely wandering, and seemed to be familiar with the area. Lots of time has passed as well. I guess we will know soon.
     
  14. 5W's

    5W's Well-Known Member

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    August 9th 2020 sighting by hunters I read that she looked thinner than in the photos of her posted online. A couple of questions come to my mind I wonder where she got the bottle of water that she had in her hand (when the hunters saw her and asked her if she needed help and she said "No") and how was she keeping herself fed? I mean it was a month before that she was seen last. If she was walking away from her disarrayed campsite then if she was sustaining herself from that campsite why was her sleeping bag found so far away? If she was sustaining herself from the disarrayed campsite then she wouldn't be far from it. A month is a long time without water and food. So I wonder why she was thinner and how she survived a month.
     
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  15. 5W's

    5W's Well-Known Member

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    The hunters looked at a missing person poster of Sandra later on in the area they saw her in and realized it was her. So, I don't think the sighting was a mistaken identity. IIRC LE has verified this sighting (I could be wrong, but I'm pretty certain.)
     
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  16. deadfoot13

    deadfoot13 Well-Known Member

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    You are correct in that Saabs are incredibly tough -- I have had two and they are like tiny Swedish tanks. I totaled the first one (900S) and walked away with only a broken heart (loved that car!) Even so, it's definitely not out of the realm of possibility that she could have injured herself by hitting her head on the window or steering wheel.

    I'm curious if the car hit the tree and traveled nose-first or tail-first into the ravine -- I've been envisioning it rolling backwards based on the term "rollback" but that's just my interpretation. My opinion is that if the car was an automatic, you would think the transmission would keep it from rolling backwards if it were in a gear other than reverse or neutral; if it was a standard, an impact like that should have caused it to stall, and it also should not have rolled if it were in gear (unless it was a very steep grade and was in a higher gear, I've had to chase cars I've left in 3rd gear by mistake.)
     
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  17. Vacajoe

    Vacajoe Well-Known Member

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    She could have tried to back up the car after the incident and accidentally rolled back into the ditch where it became stuck.
     
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  18. 5W's

    5W's Well-Known Member

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    Am I correct please correct me if I'm wrong but I thought it was a low speed impact type of "rollback." I thought I read it was low speed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2021
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  19. mlhenn

    mlhenn Well-Known Member

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    Still No Sign of Missing Camper, Search Enters Second Week | Sierra News Online

    Her silver Saab was later discovered off an area dirt road.

    Madera County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) investigators believe the woman’s car crashed into a tree at no more than 20 miles an hour (the air bags did not deploy) and then rolled down into the ravine and became stuck.
     
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  20. 5W's

    5W's Well-Known Member

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    Or it could be someone else. We just don't know. If her documents were scattered at her campsite maybe the person who drove her car got them from her campsite as well. IMO to set up a campsite a person has to know where they are in case they want to leave for sometime and be able to come back. So she would park her car at her campsite (if that's allowed where she set up) and know the road closest to it. So it just seems so random to me that she would have an accident in the area close to her camp (if her car was found near the camp, I'll have to look at an article to see how far the crash was compared to her campsite.)
     

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