She got lost, her vehicle got stuck, and she said she wandered around all night until finding a cabin, entering, and lighting a fire.

A woman reported missing from the Minneapolis suburb of New Hope on April 7 was located safe and at least relatively OK in a Clearwater County lake cabin on Friday, April 10, but not before enduring quite an ordeal.


The Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office reports that Eileen Nelson, 60, was evaluated at Bagley Sanford Medical Center after being found on Friday.


It all started on Wednesday, April 8, when the sheriff’s office received a call regarding a vehicle stuck along Heart Lake Road near the intersection of Sugar Bush Road in Rice Township. The person calling in the report indicated that it looked like the vehicle had been there for a while and items from the vehicle had been thrown around on the ground outside. The vehicle had a single occupant, the caller stated, but she would not roll down her window and attempted to hide her face when approached.


A deputy responded to the scene and found the occupant gone and the radio playing in the vehicle. The vehicle’s registered owner was from New Hope, and when law enforcement there was notified they alerted Clearwater County authorities that Nelson had been reported missing on Tuesday.


The search for Nelson began. Deputies patrolled roads looking for Nelson or at least her foot tracks. A Minnesota State Patrol plane searched from above with an infrared camera, but the air search was curtailed by the weather. The search for Nelson continued the next morning, with deputies, sheriff’s reserve members and Minnesota DNR conservation officers combing the area. A State Patrol helicopter searched from above, but Nelson was not located.


Ground searches continued on Friday, with a specialized search and rescue operation mobilized. Around 11 a.m., Nelson was found by Clearwater County Sheriff’s Reserve personnel in the cabin along Otterkill Trail.


Nelson reported that she became lost on Wednesday, April 8 and spent the night wandering around. She said she came upon the cabin on April 9, entered, and lit a fire. 


She was given a ride to the main road and picked up by Bagley Sanford Ambulance.


Sheriff Darin Halverson thanked all of the agencies involved in locating Nelson, including the Minnesota State Patrol, Minnesota DNR, Clearwater County Sheriff Reserve Members, Christian Aid Ministries Search and Rescue Organization, Northstar Search and Rescue K9 teams, the White Earth Conservation Office and the Clearwater County Land Department.  


“We would not have had such a positive outcome without the help of all these individuals,” Halverson stated in a release.