Robin Joyce Fancher, 49, is the Alabama woman whom troopers say was trapped in her car for several days after crashing into a ditch that was not easily seen from the road.
Fancher was last seen on April 17, according to Chris Watson of the Headland Police Department. He confirmed in a phone call with Heavy that according to Fancher’s boyfriend, she borrowed his car that day to go to the post office but never returned. Fancher’s brother officially filed a missing person report on Saturday, April 20, Watson said.
A witness spotted the vehicle on Monday, April 22, and called for help. She had crashed into a ditch that was difficult to see from the road, about 17 miles away from her apartment.
It took first responders more than an hour to free Fancher from the vehicle, according to the Dothan Eagle. Fancher was taken to a hospital and was reportedly doing fine.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Robin Joyce Fancher Disappeared After Leaving Her Apartment to Drive to the Post Office
Robin Joyce Fancher is from Headland, Alabama. It is a small town of about 4,600 people, according to recent census data. It is part of the greater metropolitan area of Dothan in southeastern Alabama.
Fancher was last seen on April 17 around 10 a.m., according to Headland Police investigator Chris Watson, who shared the information on Facebook and later confirmed it with Heavy over the phone. Fancher lives at the Greentree Apartments and left that morning to drive to the post office. A quick search on Google maps shows that there is a post office located just over one mile away from Fancher’s apartment.
Fancher was driving a Gold 2003 Mitsubishi Galant. Watson said that he went to Fancher’s home on April 19 to perform a welfare check, but she was not there. Her boyfriend told Fancher that he had allowed her to borrow his car, but that she had not returned. As Watson explained, the case was not initially listed as a missing person case because, to paraphase, she is an adult and allowed to go where she wants.
Fancher’s brother officially filed a missing person report on April 20 after other family members confirmed that they had not heard from Fancher. The public alert was sent out on April 20.
2. Robin Fancher’s Vehicle Was Finally Discovered About 17 Miles Away In a Ditch
Robin Joyce Fancher had been on her way to the post office on April 17, according to police. As referenced above, a post office is located near her home. But she must have had other plans for the day, because her vehicle was finally found approximately 17 miles away from the GreenTree Apartments. Chris Watson confirmed the distance in a phone call with Heavy.
The vehicle was located along County Road 203 near McDaniel Road, at the Limestone Creek Bridge. The Dothan Eagle reported that a witness, who asked not to be named, spotted the vehicle down in a ditch around 12:30 p.m. on April 22 and called police.
3. Robin Joyce Fancher’s Vehicle Was Difficult to See From the Road; First Responders Drove By at Least Twice Before Spotting the Vehicle
The man who spotted Fancher’s vehicle called police for help. But even with the new information, first responders still struggled to find the car.
The National Center For Missing and Endangered, Inc. organization, citing information from ABC affiliate WDHN-TV, shared that the man who found the car stayed until first repsonders arrived. He told the news outlet, “The county even went by twice, two or three times actually, went up, turned around and came back by across the bridge again. They didn’t see her when they came by looking.”
4. Robin Fancher Was Trapped Along the Driver’s Side Door & It Took Emergency Responders More Than an Hour to Free Her
Once first responders were at the scene, freeing Fancher proved to be a challenge. Pictures from the scene shows that Fancher’s vehicle appears to have been surrounded by brush, located near a bridge.
Fancher had been trapped inside the vehicle and was found pinned to the driver’s side door. The Dothan Eagle, citing Alabama State Troopers, reported that it took nearly 90 minutes to safely extricate Fancher from the damaged car. Five agencies were called to assist in the effort.
The cause of the crash was not released.
5. Fancher’s Family Members Were Initially Told That She Had Passed Away
Robin Joyce Fancher’s family received preliminary information that was devastating, but luckily turned out to be false. They were told that Fancher had passed away.
Her brother-in-law, Garry Mattox, told WDHN-TV that he got a call from law enforcement on April 22, telling him they had located Fancher’s car and that she was dead. Mattox told the TV station that he was bracing himself to tell Fancher’s son that his mother was gone. But before he did, his phone rang again, this time with better news. Fancher was in fact alive, and headed to the hospital. The ABC affiliate reported that Fancher is a diabetic and that her family is amazed she survived for five days in the heat.
Mattox described Fancher’s survival as a “blessing.” He said she hopes Fancher views the situation as a second chance.