Woman, Great-Granddaughter Vanish During Christmas Eve Trip | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Woman, Great-Granddaughter Vanish During Christmas Eve Trip

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Briley family

    After four days missing, a woman and her young great-granddaughter who disappeared during a Christmas Eve trip from New Jersey to North Carolina were found Wednesday in Virginia. 

    Barbara Briley, 71, and La'Myra Briley, 5, were found sitting together underneath a tree in a remote area south of Richmond, police said.

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    "Their timing couldn't have been better in my opinion, I mean everybody wants to celebrate," said Kyle Steele, a customer at the drive-thru.

    (Published Friday, April 21, 2017)

    Briley was unconscious and was flown to a hospital, where she is in critical condition. The child was alert and appeared unharmed, police said. 

    The Brileys left Mays Landing, New Jersey, on Saturday morning and were last seen about 5:30 p.m. Saturday at a gas station in Ruther Glen, Virginia, where Briley had stopped for directions.

    Nearly 96 hours later, just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, a man spotted Briley's Rav4 in a wooded area on his property in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, and went to check on it, authorities said.

    He found the Brileys sitting together against a tree, about 45 feet from the car. The man had seen news reports, realized who they were and called 911, said Maj. William Knott of the Dinwiddie County Sheriff's Office.

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    "I have absolutely no clue how they got where they were," Knott said.

    Briley was unconscious and was flown to VCU Medical Center in Richmond for treatment, state police said. She is listed in serious condition.

    La'Myra appeared unharmed but was taken to the hospital for a medical evaluation. She is now with a family member, police said Wednesday night.

    Virginia State Police said Briley apparently turned off a main road onto a dirt road, which she followed for less than a mile before she pulled off into the woods. At one point, she drove over a small tree. When she tried to back up, the Rav4 apparently got stuck in a remote area.

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    Briley and La'Myra appeared to have been there for several days, but had enough drinks and snacks to sustain them, state police said.

    Briley's niece, Marcella Rorie, previously told NBC12 her aunt went to the gas station because "she got twisted around on 95 because of all the traffic."

    Surveillance video from the gas station where Briley stopped showed her walking inside about 5:40 p.m. Saturday. She left and re-entered before she eventually pulled away just after 6 p.m., authorities said.

    Gas station clerk Joanna Strange said Briley came inside to say she was lost, and that she helped her with her GPS, according to NBC12.

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    State troopers searched in the Ruther Glen area and then re-centered their efforts along the Interstate 85 corridor from south of Richmond to the North Carolina line, state police spokesman Sgt. Stephan Vick said. They used a helicopter and hunted for signs of guard rail damage or other evidence that a car may have run off the road, he said

    Virginia State Police say they were able to ping Briley's cell phone Tuesday near the Dinwiddie County Airport in Petersburg, Virginia, about 30 minutes south of Richmond. 

    Family members have said Briley was a former driver for New Jersey Transit and had made the long trip numerous times. They said she had no known medical issues.

    They called her cellphone over and over again for days.

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