Samantha Sayers went on a solo hike in Washington’s Vesper Peak on August 1 and hasn’t been seen or heard from since then. The 28-year-old left at eight in the morning, according to ABC News, and was supposed to check in with her boyfriend by six in the evening.
Over a week later, law enforcement and search-and-rescue teams from all over Washington State, along with helicopters and search dogs, are at a complete loss as to where Sayers could be.
According to The Seattle Times, the search for Sayers is one of the longest ones in the area in recent history. A spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office in Snohomish County said, “We are going to exhaust all the resources we can to bring her home.”
Here’s what you need to know about Sayers’ disappearance.
1. Sayers Is an Experienced Hiker, According to Her Family & Authorities
According to her family and authorities, 28-year-old Sayers is an experienced hiker, whose Instagram is covered with photos of herself and her boyfriend hiking all over Washington state.
The trail that Sayers left to hike on Wednesday is filled with “very dangerous and rugged terrain,” which has made the search for her difficult. Still other hikers have said that the Vesper Peak trail is “hard to follow,” implying that Sayer might have accidentally strayed from the trail.
One hiker wrote on the alltrails.com post of the trail (via The Seattle Times), “I found myself surrounded by ferns and couldn’t see anything around me. I backtracked and crossed the creek where all the logs were and it looked like there was a trail on the other side, but that disappeared too. After roaming around in the woods with no service on my phone, I decided to just head back … ”
2. Sayers Was Wearing Light Gray Hiking Pants and a Green Sports Bra at the Time of Her Disappearance
At the time of her disappearance, ABC News reports that she was wearing light gray hiking pants and a green sports bra. She also has no hair and green eyes, as can be seen in her disappearance poster. Sayers’ head is bald because she has alopecia, The Seattle Times reports, which is an autoimmune disease that leads to hair loss.
3. Her Boyfriend & His Siblings Have Been Leaving Survival Bags for Sayers Along the Trail
Sayers’ boyfriend, Kevin Dares, and his siblings spent approximately $5,000 of their own money creating ‘survival bags’ filled with Clif Bars, socks, a poncho, compass, flashlight, fire sticks and a lighter, and have been giving them to search members to leave around the area.
On each bag, there’s a note: “Lost person Sam Sayers. Tear off corner of this note and leave in bag so we can track you! Stay strong! We love you and everyone is looking for you.”
Dares said of the survival bags to The Seattle Times, “She didn’t have cold weather gear. She had like three sandwiches, some chips and water. It’s been five days.”
4. The Search Team Has Included Over 50 Volunteers, Three K9 Teams and a Helicopter Rescue Team
Over the last week, the search for Sayers has slowly expanded to incorporate dozens of certified search-and-rescue members, K9 teams and a helicopter rescue team. The GoFundMe Page (seen below) has asked that people focus on donating money towards the survival bags rather than assisting in the search party, as uncertified search members could serve as a detriment to the process rather than an aid.
On Sunday morning, Dares posted an update on the search process to Facebook:
“Chins up guys and keep the prayers flowing. We hit the ground running this morning and are continuing our efforts. The snow hawk and Huey are in the air and visibility is 100%, we’ve got dogs on tracking, bringing in drones for hd video and analysis, teams pounding and boats doing drop offs.
Also, we have a clue. A person reported this morning after seeing the story that he had lunch with Sam near the summit on that day at roughly 3p.m., which meshes with other reports on timelines, he says that after they parted ways he later saw her from a distance making her way down the west side of the mountain towards Spada Lake.
If the report is correct than this is big help. It lets us pool resources and begin concentrating on more specific areas. Our zones are contained but if anyone is on any day hikes or doing any of the old roads near Spada today keep those eyes open.
Stay strong guys, remember that Sams strong as hell, and I’ll catch ya’ll later once we’ve got her back.”
5. A GoFundMe Page Has Already Raised $20,000 Towards Making Survival Bags for Sayers
A GoFundMe page has surpassed its $15,000 goal for creating survival bags to leave around for Sayers. The page reads:
“Sam went hiking in Vesper Peak which is 75 miles NE of Seattle Wednesday morning. She is an avid and experienced hiker, she was alone and tends to hike alone. As of this morning (8/3/18) the military and the search rescue teams were able to ping movement on her phone. Sam’s friends, family, and also the rescue teams are asking for help in setting up deposit bags which can help Sam survive and also find her way to them. The supplies for these bags are costly and many of us are trying to help them from long distance and this is the best way to help fund them on their efforts.
Here is an explanation directly from Kevin (Sam’s boyfriend) on what these bags will do for her and the exact nature of the supplies:
I need your help. We are setting up deposit bags to leave in the forest. The items they contain are as follows:
Food – needs to be completely sealed. No home made. Need most bang for buck, high calorie count. Cliff bars are a big help.
Flashlight with set of extra batteries
Compass – tiny. If Sam finds the bags each one can be labeled with a general direction for closest trail or road
Pancho – sets are good but small and light is key
Pair of socks
I’ve left out water. There are lots of rivers and glacial feed. Clean water. If Sam is on the move she can get water and since weight and size are key I’m packing the bags with other essentials.
No bag larger than a 1 gallon bag
These are all the items I have in the bags so far. Cost was roughly $1000 for twenty bags but I’m buying out this small town and prices aren’t cheap.
The idea is for all search and rescue/mountaineers to carry this on trail. Tie off to a tree and run an entire caution tape line 400ft through the forest for each bag giving her a better chance to spot them and get some provisions. Having trouble finding caution tape out here. Skinny small rolls are best.
These funds are being distributed directly to Michael Dares (brother of Kevin) who is heading up the organization of the bags and supplies.
Thank you all for your prayer, good vibes and donations in helping bring Sam home!”