Rescue crews search for elderly woman near Linville Falls

Complicating the search efforts is the woman they’re looking for is deaf.
Crews now say she could be in the Linville Falls area.
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 4:57 PM EDT
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BURKE COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Search crews braved not only the high heat but rough trails in order to find a missing Charlotte woman. Francis Apperson, 67, disappeared from her apartment and hasn’t been seen since.

Officials caught a break Tuesday when her car was located near the Linville Falls area, more than 100 miles away from where she lives.

The last time anyone saw her was on May 17. To complicate search efforts, the woman has a hearing impairment.

Hindering the search efforts is not only the terrain itself, but the weather. It’s been scorching hot up here today.

Two days of searching have turned up little information on where Apperson went. She and her family had been to the area many times in the past but it was rare--if at all--she went by herself.

“The trails are not commonly taken, we have to bushwhack our way to get through,” One rescuer said.

Drones have been put up looking for heat signatures, but nothing replaces boots on the ground and searchers keeping vigilant looking for clues.

“We’re doing some focus searches, and switching over to grid-type searches,” said Robert Bishop with the Burke County Fire Marshall’s Office.

Officials are hoping someone saw Apperson in the woods when she disappeared on May 17 so they can fine-tune the search pattern. And also keep a watchful eye out for her.

“Dial a local number 828-437-1911 if you’ve seen the subject or know anything that could help us in the search,” said Jimmy Winters with Burke County.

Officials say she may pop up along a roadway somewhere so if you happen to come across her, make sure to call emergency services right away.

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