NEBO, N.C. (WBTV/AP) - Authorities feared something bad had happened to Anthony Logan and Tesla Rackley after relatives reported them missing this past weekend.
The two and a dog were last spotted in the Pisgah National Forest near Mills River in Henderson County. They had been dropped off there and had apparently left their cell phone in the car that left them. As a result, they could not be called or tracked.
On Monday, search teams began to scour the area where they were last seen. That intensive search continued into Tuesday as well, but authorities also followed leads that suggested the couple may not be in the woods at all.
Tuesday afternoon, as more crews headed into the Pisgah Forest two deputies, acting on a hunch, drove through downtown Asheville and spotted the couple along Biltmore Avenue. It turns out the two, along with the dog, had left the Pisgah Forest area Saturday night and had been in Asheville ever since.
When they were found, they were seen playing music along the street and asking for tips from passersby.
"We are glad they are okay," said Henderson County Sheriff's Office Major Frank Stout.
Even so, officials said a lot of time and effort and money went into the search. Mills River Fire Chief Rick Livingston said with all the equipment and paid staff and overtime, the total cost could wind up in the tens of thousands of dollars.
"It's a tremendous expense for the local departments," he said.
Still, there is no way to recoup the costs because the couple that was reported missing didn't know they were considered missing and didn't try to hide. And the people who alerted authorities did so in good faith.
Officials say they will just have to look at the positives in the case insofar as it being a good training exercise and the fact that everyone is all right.