Woman, 82, spends night in woods after wandering off

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Syble Crist, right, is hugged by neighbor Inell Noble this morning after Crist spent the night in the woods near her Union Avenue home.(Melanie Duncan Thortis The Vicksburg Post)

[10/21/03]An 82-year-old woman emerged this morning from a wooded area about a 1/2 mile from her home after authorities had searched for her for nearly 14 hours.

Syble Crist apparently wandered away from her residence at 812 Union Ave. Monday afternoon, and at about 7:30 this morning, she walked from the woods onto Sally Willis Road.

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That’s when Patrick and Sherry Terrell spotted her. “I asked her, Are you Syble?'” Sherry Terrell said. “We’ve been looking for you.'”

“She’s a very sweet and very lucky lady,” Terrell said of his neighbor for six years.

The temperature in Vicksburg dropped to about 51 degrees Monday night, but Crist was wearing denim slacks and a sweatshirt jacket and was probably unaffected by the cooler weather.

She was being checked at River Region Medical Center, a hospital spokesman said.

Crist has lived just north of the Vicksburg city limits and adjacent to Sherman Avenue in the home with her daughter and son-in-law, Emma Lee and Kenneth Harrell, for eight or nine years.

“It got daylight and she walked out,” her daughter said through tears. “I’m just thankful.”

As authorities searched Monday night, Emma Lee Harrell said she had a feeling her mother was in the nearby woods. Harrell said her mother was not afraid of the dark or of people and that if she got lost in the woods, she would just sit down and go to sleep. And that is apparently just what she did.

Crists’ Pomeranian dog, Phoenix, who was apparently with her when she disappeared, returned home about 30 minutes after Crist.

Authorities from the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, the bloodhound unit from the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department, Vicksburg Police Department, Vicksburg National Military Park rangers and the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks searched from about 6 Monday evening to 7:30 this morning.

“We are all very relieved she was located alive and appeared to be in good health,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said. “This is always the end result we hope for.”

And Inell Noble, a friend of Crists’ for 13 years felt the same way.

“You just imagine so many things. I’m glad she’s home,” Noble said.