Missing woman, cat found in N.M. forest

March 9, 2012 at 6:25 PM

SILVER CITY, N.M., March 9 (UPI) -- A woman with a history of mental illness who went missing three weeks ago was found alive with her cat in New Mexico's Gila National Forest, officials said.

Margaret Page, 41, of Albuquerque, was found emaciated but alive and well Wednesday by members of the Mesilla Valley Search and Rescue team after an hourlong search, incident commander Dave Kuthe told the Las Cruces Sun-News.

Page was well-hydrated from forest streams but had run out of food and lost 25 to 30 pounds, the newspaper said. She had fed her cat with cat food she brought when she set out on her hike sometime between Feb. 10 and 12.

"She was responsive, but obviously starving and a little dehydrated," search team member Vic Villalobos told ABC News. "She said it had been three or four days since the last bits of food she brought with her had run out, and she had been drinking water from a nearby stream."

The search was initiated Tuesday when her family told authorities her car had been found at the Railroad Canyon Campground. She had told her family she was going to Florida.

Page was found inside a sleeping back 25 yards from the Railroad Canyon Trail in the Black Range and about a mile from the trailhead, Kuthe said.

She was brought to a hospital Wednesday. Later that day she checked herself out and checked in to a hotel in Silver City.

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