Search goes on for missing woman

Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Alaska State Troopers, local rescue teams and volunteers aren't giving up the search for a Douglas woman who disappeared Sunday night.

Search teams have scoured the area around the end of North Douglas Highway, where attorney Rebecca Mass's car was found abandoned Sunday, trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said. Tuesday's search began at 9 a.m. and lasted until about 4 p.m.

"Today they re-searched the area where they have the highest probability of finding her," Wilkinson said. "With the heavy snowfall, it's made search efforts very, very difficult."

The National Weather Service in Juneau reported that approximately 2 feet of snow has fallen at Juneau International Airport since Sunday and temperatures have hovered between 12 and 27 degrees.

Wilkinson said the snowfall has made it impossible to track the direction Mass might have headed after leaving her vehicle.

"If she did go horizontal, she's going to be tough to find," Wilkinson said. "If she trips and falls and can't walk, the next thing you know you've got snow on top."

Mass, 46, was reported missing Sunday night after dropping her son off at a friend's house and not returning at a designated time to pick him up. Her car was found later that night parked at the end of North Douglas Highway.

Troopers said they do not expect that foul play was involved. Wilkinson said Mass's 10-year-old son is staying with friends during the search.

State Trooper Mark Granda described Mass as having brown hair and blue eyes, 128 pounds and about 5-feet-5-inches tall.

Wilkinson said troopers and searchers with the Southeast Alaska Dogs Organized for Ground Search, or SEADOGS, Juneau Mountain Rescue and friends of Mass planned to regroup Tuesday night to decide how to proceed with today's search. About 20 people were involved in the Tuesday's search, Wilkinson said.

It is uncertain how long the search will continue, he said.

"We want to try to go at least two or three days of extensive searching until any decision is made," he said. "We always hold out hope until the last moment. Miracles happen. We're continuing this effort right now with every hope that we find her alive."

• Timothy Inklebarger can be reached at timothy.inklebarger@juneauempire.com.



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