Missing woman found after 8 days of red tape


During the eight days that Tanya Rider lay seriously injured in her crashed SUV, her husband was fighting red tape to get authorities to launch a search for her, he said Friday.

Rider, 33, was found alive but dehydrated at the bottom of a steep ravine on Thursday, more than a week after she failed to return home from work.

Authorities had been able to detect the general location of her cell phone that morning, then searched along the highway she traveled from work in suburban Seattle to her Maple Valley home. They noticed some matted brush, and below it they found Rider's Honda Element, smashed on its side, State Patrol spokesman Jeff Merrill said.

"She looks very pale, very dehydrated. She didn't have a lot of cuts but had difficulty breathing," Merrill said.

Friday morning, Rider was sedated in critical condition and fighting for her life at Harborview Medical Center, her husband, Tom Rider said. He said she was suffering from kidney failure and sores from lying in the same position for a week and that she could lose her leg.


Tanya Rider left work at a Fred Meyer grocery store in Bellevue on Sept. 19 but never made it home. When her husband couldn't reach her, he said, he called Bellevue police to report his wife missing.

Bellevue police took the report right away, but when they found video of Tanya Rider getting into her car after work, they told her husband the case was out of their jurisdiction and he should notify King County, he said.

Tom Rider said he tried that, but "the first operator I talked to on the first day I tried to report it flat denied to start a missing persons report because she didn't meet the criteria," he said.

"I basically hounded them until they started a case and then, of course, I was the first focal point, so I tried to get myself out of the way as quickly as possible. I let them search the house. I told them they didn't have to have a warrant for anything, just ask," he said.

Tom Rider said he also drove the route where his wife was found but didn't see any sign of a crash. He also offered a $25,000 reward for any information leading to her safe return.

Thursday morning, detectives asked him to come in to sign for a search of phone records. They also asked him to take a polygraph test.

"By the time he was done explaining the polygraph test to me, the detective burst into the room with a cell phone map that had a circle on it," Tom Rider said Friday. He said the detective started explaining the blip they had found and within minutes, news arrived that Tanya Rider had been found.


If she survives it will be because she had a very determined husband. Apparently the missing person business at the Sheriff's office was just too brisk to be responsive to what was clearly an emergency. I hope she recovers and can again communicate with the guy who was determined to find her. An update on her condition is here.


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