Missing Mississippi woman found after spelling out S-O-S with tree bark, rangers say

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Park rangers say they have found the 56-year-old woman from Mississippi who had gone missing in Sequoia National Park last Thursday.

National Park Service officials say Mary Joanna Gomez was found after a California Air National Guard aircraft spotted tree bark that spelled out S-O-S. Rangers said despite being cold, hungry and thirsty, Gomez was in good health.

She released the following statement to Action News:

"I am profoundly thankful to the National Park Service who worked tirelessly to rescue me and were so very kind when they did. I am hungry, a little dehydrated, and I have cuts and bruises, but I'm very fortunate to be in as good a condition as I am. My priority now is spending time with my family. Thank you for your support and coverage and for the time and space as I recover."

Officials say Gomez was 3.5 miles away from her car, which had been discovered Sunday around midnight.

Family members say Gomez is a traveling nurse who was working in San Francisco and had left Wednesday to visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

Gomez was supposed to return to work in San Francisco Friday night but never showed up, prompting the search. She has since been reunited with her family.
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