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Stranded Woman, 75, Found Alive

January 17, 2002|From Associated Press

EL CAJON — A 75-year-old woman whose husband perished after setting out to find help survived more than 24 hours without food or water.

Rosemary Maloney and her husband were leaving the Sycuan casino in a remote area east of San Diego on Sunday afternoon when William Maloney made a wrong turn on a dirt road and their car became stuck.

William Maloney, 83, set out on foot for help, leaving behind his wife, who relies on a walker. As she waited for him, night fell and temperatures dipped into the 30s. She covered herself with sheets she pulled from the back seat.

"I put them over my head and breathed the warm air," she said. "My nose was so cold and my fingers were too."

When the sun rose, she tried to drink the dew that had settled on her car and on nearby leaves.

Around 4 p.m. Monday, a motorcyclist discovered the car. Paramedics called to the scene spotted William Maloney's body about a quarter of a mile away from the couple's car. Sheriff's officials said it appeared that he had collapsed and fallen down an embankment.

A spokesman for the Sycuan casino said customers have become lost leaving the casino in the past because they must drive on back-country roads for about 10 miles before hitting Interstate 8 or California 94. He said the casino would work to improve signage.

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