STOCKTON (CBS13/AP) — The search for a Modesto woman gone missing since last month has been called off after three ranchers found the former teacher in a field, alive.
For nearly three weeks, hundreds of volunteers have been looking long and hard for former Modesto school teacher Jamie Tull.
“Originally, started out last week, we had a team of dogs, and that fell through so Robert and I decided together you know, we’re gonna just go out there and get a hold of Mario,” said Lynn Garber, who found the woman.
The three men were hoping to find any type of clue left behind by the 36-year-old woman who family says suffers from bipolar disorder.
“We got to the gate, he asked if we can go pass there and I was like yeah, you know might as well,” said Mario Bianchi, who helped find the woman.
Tull was last seen in mid-July after crashing her car in Merced County. Search teams posted pictures throughout social media and created a website to help find her, but had no luck until early Friday morning.
“In the corner right off the fence and it was Jamie. And we bailed out of the truck and of course we heard her say I’m alive,” said Robert Carpenter, who helped find the woman.
Tull was found in the middle of a 7,400-acre ranch with no shade anywhere nearby just the heat of the sun and several bugs, which they say she ate to survive.
“When we found her she was lying on her back. With severe sunburned but what she was doing during the 17 days only Jamie knows,” said Garber.
Tull is now surrounded by loved ones who are eager, they say, to get her back to good health.
“Jamie has an incredible spirit and an incredible will, you have to have a will to live, but even beyond that I truly believe it was a miracle,” said Carpenter.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said she told searchers after they found her: “Give me food and water and let me go.”
“She hunkered down. She didn’t want to be found,” Warnke said.
Tull endured a scorching heatwave and told rescuers that she ate two grasshoppers and a fly and drank water from the cattle trough, Warnke said. He said she had stopped taking prescription medicine to help her with emotional issues.
She was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital for medical treatment and will be returned to relatives for care, Warnke said.