Mentally challenged missing woman found safe near group home

January 24, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Rescue workers found a mentally challenged Harper's Choice woman yesterday who had been missing for more than 36 hours, Howard County police said.

Melanie McKinney, 34, was discovered about noon in the stairwell of an apartment building in the 5300 block of Harpers Farm Road, less than two miles from her group home in the 5400 block of El Camino.

Although she was missing for two nights when temperatures hovered below freezing, investigators believe McKinney stayed warm by moving from building to building.

She was in good condition yesterday, but was taken to Howard County General Hospital as a precaution, a hospital spokeswoman said.

McKinney had last been seen taking a garbage bag to the curb of her home about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. About 35 search-and-rescue volunteers and 12 trained dogs assisted Howard County police in the investigation.

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