Trailcam image leads to missing woman’s rescue

BY STACI WILSON

The image of a missing New Milford woman was captured by a trail camera on the Sienko property in Great Bend Twp.

Beatrice Phelps, 58, went missing Tuesday from the Pine St., Hallstead area.

Police and emergency personnel searched for Phelps for days in the Hallstead area, focusing their efforts in areas along theSusquehanna River, Tpr. John Oliver said.

During a routine check of trail cameras Friday, David Sienko discovered Phelps’ image had been captured on Tuesday at4:30 p.m.

The focus of the search then shifted, Oliver said, to area of and around the Sienko property.

“David Sienko and his family went above and beyond what any other normal citizen does,” Oliver said. The Sienkos gave the search party full access to the property, provided ATVs, services and equipment.

New York State Police brought in a search helicopter to aid the rescue efforts in the heavily wooded area. But Phelps was not found during Friday’s search.

Oliver, along with Sienko, Cpl. Norm Strauss and Tpr. David Lock with K-9 officer Crato, resumed searching Saturday morning higher up on the mountain property.

Sienko was first to hear Phelps cries for help and he yelled for the troopers to join him.

Oliver made his way up a steep hill covered in fallen trees, calling to Phelps and she answered him back.

The trooper found her trapped under some of the trees, almost completely hidden from sight, just over the Sienko property line on land owned by Hayden Thomas. Thomas had also granted police permission to search for Phelps on his property.

Phelps told Oliver she had slipped and fell on the incline Tuesday at about6 p.m.and was unable to work herself free.

Oliver said Hallstead Fire and Rescue came up the mountain to treat Phelps. She was transported toWilsonHospitaland treated for dehydration, the trooper said.

“It was truly a miracle she was alive,” Oliver said. “It’s amazing this trail camera saved her.”

And despite being trapped under trees on the mountainside for days, Oliver said, “She was just a joy to talk to.”

“I’ve been praying for you every night,” the trooper said he told Phelps.

“I’ve been praying, too,” he said she told him.

Oliver said, “I truly believe her positive attitude and faith in God kept her alive.”