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Two missing persons, two search and rescues: Lenox Police report success for both team efforts

LENOX — Two women who had been reported missing in separate incidents Thursday have been found safe — including one who apparently spent all night outdoors, according to town police.

The other woman emerged from October Mountain State Forest on Thursday afternoon, about two hours after a search was launched.

The first woman, who is 23, was reported missing from her family’s home in downtown Lenox about 6:30 p.m., according to Police Chief Stephen E. O’Brien. Her cellphone was traced to Old Stockbridge Road near the Elm Court property.

After an unsuccessful initial search, Sgt. Michael Smith and Officer Jacob Stringer called for a large search team from the state police Special Emergency Response Team to cover a wider area, including Kennedy Park and a portion of the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.

The team of up to 50 searchers, also including members of the Stockbridge and Lee police departments and the state police assigned to the Lee barracks, spread out widely, O’Brien said. The Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office’s drone and ATVs, state police assigned to the District Attorney’s Office, the Berkshire Mountain Search and Rescue Team, and five state police K-9 unit search dogs also assisted from a command post at Town Hall.

The search was suspended at 3:30 a.m. Friday with the woman still missing. But shortly before 9 a.m., retired Lenox Police Officer Tony Salvatore, who was out with his wife walking their dog, reported that he spotted a woman who had just emerged from the woods behind a West Street residence.

Officer William Colvin confirmed she was the woman who had been missing since the previous evening. She was treated for exposure by members of the Lenox Fire Department and Ambulance Squad and taken to Berkshire Medical Center.

In the other incident, a 42-year-old Dalton woman described as a frequent hiker, contacted her husband via cellphone early Thursday afternoon saying she was lost, O’Brien said.

Shortly after 1 p.m., the Lenox Fire Department assembled a search crew, using an all-terrain vehicle and larger utility task vehicle to enter the state forest off Roaring Brook Road, moving on a rough, still snow- and ice-covered trail just over the Lenox line in the town of Washington.

“We were in cellphone contact with the lost hiker virtually the entire time,” the police chief said. Using “ping” guidance from the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office and her husband’s cellphone app, police were able to track her general whereabouts to upper New Lenox Road near the Farnham Dam.

Fire Chief Chris O’Brien, Officer Blake Poore and the hiker’s husband found the woman and walked her to an ambulance, where she was checked out and found to be cold but not needing medical attention.

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com.

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