UPDATE – Missing Rafter Found Safe Monday Morning [AUDIO]
UPDATE : 11:00 A.M. Monday, July 29
Samantha French, 20, who was reported missing Sunday evening after becoming separated from her rafting party on Sunday night was found safe Monday morning at her apartment.
Missoula County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Paige Pavalone said Search and Rescue were preparing to mount a full-scale search from the Kono Bridge on the Clark Fork River when she walked into her apartment.
“Sheriff’s deputies went to her house this morning, as we were about to set up a Search and Rescue incident command post out at Kona Bridge where she was last seen, and we were also about to launch Life Flight to look for her overhead,” Pavalone said. “We gained access to her apartment with her keys, and while we were in there looking for her, she walked to the residence.”
Pavalone said French became lost last night after leaving the river, and got a ride home, where she discovered her apartment locked, because she left her keys and her cell phone with her rafting party.
“She was unable to call anyone to let them know she was safe, and so she crashed at a friend’s home for the night who lived across the street,” Pavalone said. “I was there with Captain Giffin, because we decided to take the keys out of evidence and use the keys to gain entry into the house. So, as we were standing in her house, she literally walked up the steps and said ‘Hi, this is my apartment!’ So, we were happy and relieved to find her at that time.”
Paige Pavalone with Missoula County Sheriff’s Department