Missing NJ woman and great-grandchild found alive in rural Virginia
New Jersey 101.5 video
A 71-year-old New Jersey woman and her great-granddaughter who had been missing since Christmas Eve were found alive Wednesday afternoon in Virginia.
Barbara Briley and 5-year-old La'Myra Briley were found shortly before 5 p.m. by a Dinwiddie County resident who saw them sitting near a silver Toyota Rav4 that was parked on private property, Virginia State Police said.
The car was found a mile from Nash Road, less than 4 miles from Interstate 85, in a rural and sparsely populated area.
Barbara Briley was flown by Virginia State Police Med-Flight helicopter to VCU Medical Center in Richmond, for treatment. Authorities did not say if she had suffered a medical condition or why she had parked there.
La’Myra Briley was alert and appeared unharmed, police said, but was sent for a medical evaluation as a precaution.
Earlier in the day, officers scoured hotels, businesses, rest areas and trucks stops across a large swath of Virginia in the search, Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Stephan Vick said. The two had last been seen on Christmas Eve at a gas station in Ruther Glen, Virginia, about 30 miles north of Richmond. Authorities say they were on their way to Anson County in North Carolina to visit relatives.
A niece of Barbara Briley said she used to work as a driver for New Jersey Transit and had made the long trip numerous times.
"Driving is not an issue when it comes to my Aunt Barbara," Ginger Bittle, 35, told The Associated Press. She said she didn't know of her aunt to have any medical problems.
Family members had repeatedly tried to reach her by cellphone and were retracing the route they believe she was traveling.
Surveillance video from the gas station shows Barbara Briley walking inside around 5:40 p.m. Saturday. She exits and re-enters before eventually pulling away just after 6 p.m., authorities said.
Gas station clerk Joanna Strange told local media that Briley came inside to say she was lost, and that she helped her with her GPS before Briley went on her way.
Officers spent much of Monday searching the Ruther Glen area and then shifted their efforts to an area south of Richmond, after police in New Jersey learned that the Brileys may have been there early Tuesday, Vick said.
State troopers looked up and down the Interstate 85 corridor, going all the way to the North Carolina state line without luck, Vick said. They used a helicopter and hunted for signs of guard rail damage or other evidence that a car may have run off the road, he said.
Virginia police have spelled the family's name Briely, but public records and the most recent press releases from New Jersey spell it Briley.
The Associated Press and Sergio Bichao of New Jersey 101.5 contributed to this report.
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