HANOVER COUNTY, Va. – Officials say a Henrico dog groomer who vanished Monday night after a wreck in Doswell has been found. In fact, deputies tell CBS 6 News that they found Julie S. Teller disoriented in the woods about a tenth of a mile from the scene of the crash around 11:45 a.m.
The Hanover County Sheriff’s Office said that the 54-year-old was treated by EMS crews and taken the the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Officials said Teller, who lives on Seminary Avenue in Henrico, was last seen driving away from her residence in her 2001 red Dodge Caravan around 4:30 p.m. Monday.
Deputies said that her vehicle was later involved in a crash around 10:20 p.m. the 15400 block of Washington Highway, near Taylorsville Road in Doswell. When deputies arrived to the crash scene, they discovered Teller's minivan with obvious signs of damage, but there was no sign of Teller.
Investigators said a deputy driving on Taylorsville Road spotted the woman about 20 yards away from the highway right next of the woods.
"She was 20 yards off of the road in the wooded area. The only thing that the deputy could see was her head," said Sgt. Terry Sullivan. "It's thick vegetation and if you combine that with her being disoriented it's very easy to get lost in those wooded areas."
The woman was found several yards away from a home that was backed up to the wooded area. However, investigators believe that she never saw the home since it was so dark.
CBS 6 News reporter Shelby Brown talked with the man and his son who live in the home. The pair said that they had no idea the woman was lost in the woods just yards from their home. If they had known, they said they would have helped her.
Deputies conducted an "extensive search of the area" for Teller beginning Monday night. In fact, Virginia State Police deployed their chopper, which is equipped with infrared technology. However, because the woods in that part of the county is so dense, they were unable to find her. Officials sent the helicopter back up Tuesday morning to resume the search.
“I am pleased that we were able to locate this woman and that her injuries are being treated. The dedication, teamwork, and perseverance of everyone involved led to this successful outcome," said Colonel David R. Hines.
Neighbors, who told CBS 6 News that Teller is an avid animal lover who grooms pets for a living, were upset to learn of her disappearance.
“Yeah, it was kind of devastating...you don't like to hear stuff like that, especially when it's your neighbor,” said Chris Piercy.
Sandy Stone, another of Teller’s neighbors, was relieved to learn she had been found safe.
"That's what gets you through: your faith And I'm sure Charlene [Teller’s mother] would say the same thing. God was walking with her through this. He was there, just like He's always been.”