RICEBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – A woman was found dead Tuesday evening just hours after a passerby came across her daughter, who had been wandering the woods near Riceboro for about two days.
Authorities say Mandy Morehouse, 32, was traveling with the 8-year-old girl when she drove into a ditch on Briar Bay Road.
She and her daughter apparently left the vehicle and began walking into the woods until Morehouse became unresponsive.
Family members reported both of them missing in Long County late Tuesday morning, according to Sheriff Craig Nobles.
“[The daughter] stayed for a second night with her last night in the woods and she said her mommy was unresponsive this morning and she knew that she needed to walk out somewhere,” explained Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes. “She walked over three or four miles it appears.”
Sikes said the young girl went looking for help and was found around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday by an off-duty EMT who happened to be metal detecting in the area.
The girl had some scratches and bug bites but was otherwise OK.
A Georgia State Patrol helicopter, using thermal imaging cameras, located Morehouse around 6 p.m. Tuesday about three miles from the crash site on Briar Bay Road.
Sikes said the information Morehouse’s daughter gave them was vital.
“She was very, very helpful. She’s a brave little girl and she’s to be commended for her part in finding her mother and bringing this thing to a conclusion,” he said.
The circumstances surrounding the incident remain under investigation.
“Why they walked out into the woods, that’s a question that we’re going to have to follow up with,” the sheriff said, adding, “We don’t really know at this point.”
The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Long County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Midway Police Department and a helicopter from Chatham County aided in the search.
Contributions to this story made by Lewis Levine, Coastal News Service