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Family, Police and Hospital Comment On Missing Woman Found In Nevada

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By Michelle Costa

TWIN FALLS, ID (KMVT-TV) - A British Columbia woman who has been missing for seven weeks is now in a local hospital in "fair" condition.

Rita Chretien was found alive last night by hunters in Elko County, Nevada.

A couple on four–wheelers spotted the Chretien’s van in a ravine near the Humboldt National Forest.

Rita and Albert Chretien went missing on March 19 after leaving their Penticton, British Columbia home for a Las Vegas trade show.

The couple, both in their 50s, never checked into their Las Vegas hotel room, nor did they attend the trade show.

While Rita has been found, Albert Chretien is still missing.

Rita's family members are on their way to Twin Falls.

They're simply relieved that she's been found.

Although her husband is still missing, this has been the much–needed hope for the family that they'll also find him.

It's a miraculous story about survival.

"Wow. What a miracle that she was able to survive so long with only snow and water,” said Dale Chretien, Son of Rita and Albert Chretien.

Rita Chretien and her husband, Albert, were traveling to a trade show in Las Vegas.

But, never made it.

The last spot they were seen, Baker City, Oregon. Their van was found in Elko County, Nevada.

"They had made a wrong turn. She believed somewhere around Mountain. She woke up and they were turning on a dirt road heading to some highway that he thought was a short cut. They kept getting stuck for two days getting stuck and unstuck in this vehicle over and over again until the husband eventually said "I'm going to go and look for help and that's the last she saw of him,” said Officer Luke Allen, Twin Falls Police Department.

The couple's son spoke to us from British Columbia.

"I'm hopeful now that they know where the van is that there's a good place to start searching because several weeks ago they were hundreds of miles off of the last known location. So, it's very encouraging that we know where to start from,” said Dale Chretien.

While Rita remains in the hospital, her family and friends are showing their support anyway they can that includes the internet.

On Facebook, her husband's sister said: “I can hardly wait to hug Rita on mother's day. She is an example to us all of strength, courage, faith and much more.”

"She's doing well. Hitting her marks. She seems to be well on the way. She's taken in food. They are pleased with her progress,” said Ken Dey, St. Luke’s Magic Valley Regional Hospital.

Although Rita is on the road to recovery, police in Nevada and Idaho continue to look for her husband.

"It's really difficult because we are involving both police agencies. We crossed the State line. We believe that the vehicle was possibly in Elko County. It's just trying to get all the information back and forth between us and Elko County to share so that we can locate this man and see if he is okay,” said Officer Allen.

The Elko County Sheriff's Office is searching for Albert.

In addition to the ground personnel, an aircraft is available, but has not been utilized at this point due to weather conditions.

We'll continue to keep you updated on this story on air and online at kmvt.com.


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