Search suspended for missing Unalakleet elder

The search for a missing Unalakleet elder has been suspended. Alaska State Troopers had been searching for 74-year-old Vivian Foote since last Wednesday.

Foote was last seen walking near her home in the early afternoon. The community — led by the Unalakleet Search and Rescue team — conducted a preliminary search for the missing woman before notifying Troopers of her disappearance around 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Alaska State Troopers. (KNOM file photo)
Alaska State Troopers. (KNOM file photo)

Troopers arrived in Unalakleet two days later to investigate and assist with the search. As of Monday afternoon, all search efforts — including sweeps by four rescue dog teams and more than 120 community volunteers — have found no sign of Foote.

Rescue efforts escalated from door to door searches on the day Foote went missing, to shoulder-to-shoulder sweeps across city limits the day after. Rescue dog teams were flown in from Anchorage and Fairbanks after a crowdfunding campaign raised money for their charter. They were also unable to find any sign of Foote.

The dog teams left Unalakleet Sunday night to avoid the incoming winter storm, and Troopers called off their search Monday afternoon.

Middy Johnson is a coordinator with the Unalakleet Search and Rescue team. On Sunday, he said the community would continue its search with closer looks at the outskirts of town and along the water.

“It does get tiring a little bit, but right now we’re hanging in there,” Johnson said. “We’ve had plenty of calls from other communities that are on standby — just waiting for us if we want to expand it more and need more personnel. So we appreciate that, and we’ll just keep going until we’ve exhausted all our efforts or until we find her.”

Troopers say Foote may suffer from medical ailments. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Vivian Foote should contact the Alaska State Troopers and the Unalakleet Search and Rescue Team.

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