Maple Valley woman found alive after missing for over a week

KING COUNTY, Wash. — The Maple Valley woman, Gia Fuda, has been found alive after going missing for more than a week, the King County Sheriff’s Office announced Saturday afternoon.

Sergeant Ryan Abbott said search and rescue crews found Fuda around 2:45 p.m. deep in the woods. She was found up a steep ravine next to Scenic Creek, which gave her the water she needed to survive more than a week.

She was about 8 miles west of Stevens Pass and several miles from her car.

When rescuers found her, deputies said she wasn’t very coherent, and they called her survival a miracle.

Fuda was taken to Evergreen Health Monroe Medical Center and was reunited with her family.

A hospital spokesperson said she was stable and recovering.

KIRO 7 spoke with a family friend, Jeff White, who was among the hundreds who helped search for Fuda. He said a call came as hope had started to fade.

“Something we didn’t expect,” said White. “We got a phone call and we just started crying and we stopped the car.”

As to how search and rescue volunteers found Fuda, deputies said they found a notebook that belonged to the teen and then followed a trail of items belonging to her.

“She had her Bible with her,” White said.

Fuda’s disappearance was thought to be suspicious after her car, a 2008 silver Toyota Corolla, was found abandoned on eastbound U.S. 2 west out of Stevens Pass by a Washington State Department of Transportation worker on Saturday. It was out of gas. Police had said it was possible she had walked to get help.

Since Fuda’s disappearance, the crews had been combing the area in case she had walked from her car through the rough terrain. Detectives also thought it was possible she had gotten picked up by someone she did not know.

Major crimes detectives said they had found video of Fuda at a coffee shop east of Index on Friday, July 24 before her car ran out of gas. Photos showed her wearing a red sweatshirt and a gray T-shirt.

The red sweatshirt was found in the car, so it was believed she was wearing the gray T-shirt when she disappeared.

Fuda’s purse and keys were found in her car. Her cellphone was also gone and was last pinged to that location before it was shut off.

“We don’t know what caused her to go up a ravine,” Abbott said.

However, deputies told KIRO 7 there’s no reason to believe she was the victim of a crime and that she likely set out to find gas. They are still not sure why she went into the woods.

“It shows that miracles happen and don’t ever quit and that’s what we were doing. They just continued to search and thankfully found her,” Abbott said.

Deputies told KIRO 7 it may take a few days before they are able to talk with Fuda, but once she is doing better, they plan to talk to her to learn more about what happened after she ran out of gas and how she ended up where she did.

King County sheriff PIO gives an update after rescue crews find Gia Fuda.