Lt. Todd Bogardus: (603) 271-3127
CO Jeremy Hawkes: (603) 271-3361
September 24, 2007       

Three Successful Searches Concluded on Sunday, September 23:
Missing Walpole Woman; Injured Hiker; Lost Boys

CONCORD, N.H. - Three separate search and rescue operations ended successfully on Sunday, September 23, 2007, keeping New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Law Enforcement officials busy as the weekend came to a close. 
In one incident, search teams successfully located a missing woman in the woods of Millsfield, N.H.  Deborah Naticchioni, 51 years old, of Walpole, N.H., had been reported missing by family members on Thursday, September 20.  Late Sunday morning, N.H. State Police Troop F was notified of an abandoned vehicle along Route 26 in Millsfield, located between Errol and Dixville Notch in New Hampshire's Great North Woods.  A check of the vehicle showed that it belonged to Naticchioni and that she had been entered into computer databases as a missing woman.  At the same time, a suspicious woman was reported walking along the road, visiting residences, then disappearing into the woods.  

N.H. Fish and Game Conservation Officers, N.H. State Police troopers with a bloodhound, New England K-9 Search and Rescue Team and the Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team then participated in a search off Route 26 near the Dixville town line.  Shortly after 11:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 23, a search team consisting of Conservation Officers Mark Hensel and Chris Eagan and Fish and Game K-9 "Poacher" located Naticchioni along a stream approximately one-fourth mile from where she had last been seen.  Naticchioni appeared to be in relatively good condition after spending 12 hours wandering in the woods, according to Lt. Todd Bogardus of N.H. Fish and Game. 

"The search was a success thanks to the team efforts of all involved to bring Deborah Naticchioni back to safety," said Bogardus.  Naticchioni was taken to the Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital in Colebrook to be further evaluated. 

Earlier on Sunday (September 23), N.H. Fish and Game Conservation Officers responded to two separate incidents on the Basin Cascades Trail in Franconia Notch.  Around 3:30 p.m., Fish and Game received a call to come to the aid of hiker Romell Nandi, age 37, of Washington, D.C., who had injured his leg while on the trail.  The situation was further complicated when a Franconia Notch State Park employee attempting to find the injured hiker slipped and sprained her knee.  N.H. Fish and Game Conservation Officers and volunteers from the Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team responded.  Both of the injured were helped to safety by 5:45 p.m.  The State Park employee was carried out on a litter; the injured hiker was able to walk out with assistance.

At 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 23, yet another call for help came in from the Basin Cascades Trail in Franconia Notch.   Three boys were missing from a Manchester church group that had been on a day hike in the area.  The group had started hiking around 2:15 p.m.  During the hike, three jueveniles separated from the group to look at the waterfalls, apparently unaware that the group's itinerary involved hiking on to Lonesome Lake.  The rest of the group arrived at Lonesome Lake and realized the boys were not with them.  When they returned to the trailhead and still had not found the boys, they called 911.  N.H. Fish and Game and the Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team responded, sending two-person search teams up trails in the area.  The boys were located at about 9:30 p.m. on the rocks in Cascade Brook, about 3/4 mile up the Basin Cascades Trail. 

"The boys had no backpacks, no gear -- no lights, food or water - and they were wearing light summer clothing," said Conservation Officer Jeremy Hawkes of Fish and Game.  "We were concerned that they might be wet, and temperatures could drop later in the night."

The boys were found by Hawkes and Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team volunteer Gordie Johnk.  Johnk blew his emergency whistle as they walked up the trail, then the searchers heard the kids yell in response.  The boys had not heard earlier calls from the search teams because of the sound of the rushing brook, however, they were able to hear the high-pitched emergency whistle.

"Because of that whistle, these boys are safe and sound," said Hawkes.  "We had a serious talk with the group about the importance of following the hikeSafe principles, though - always be prepared with the right gear, and above all, keep your group together."  

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