More details are emerging in the bizarre four-day ordeal experienced by an elderly New Jersey woman and her great grandchild who went missing during a Christmas Eve drive to Anson County, N.C.
Barbara Briley, 71, was taken to a Richmond, Virginia, medical hospital in serious condition after being discovered unconscious Wednesday alongside side her great granddaughter, 5-year-old La’Myra. The two were located on a dirt road in a densely wooded area south of Richmond, Virginia, in Dinwiddie County. It was seven miles from Interstate 85.
Family members are saying roadwork detours may have played a role in Briley taking one too many wrong turns on her trip to Morven in Anson County.
They told Virginia station WTVR that Briley was alert, talking and improving fast since being found. Both Briley and La’Myra are expected to be okay, they told the station.
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A man who lives near the spot where they were found was walking his dogs when he spotted Briley’s Silver Toyota stuck in the woods and called 911. The man has insisted on anonymity in interviews, but told WTVR that he found the two under a blanket 10 yards from their car.
“The great-grandmother was obviously in trouble. She was moving... her hands, but she wasn't speaking,” he told WTVR. “She was making some noises, but not verbal communications.”
La’Myra was alert and talkative, he said, and did not want him to leave to summon an ambulance. "She asked me not to go. And I promised her that I would come back. She was really sweet. She told me she loved me," he told WTVR.
He believes the two survived in the woods only because temperatures did not dip below freezing during the time they were there.
Terry Ramseur, Barbara Briley's daughter, told WTVR that La’Myra took what little food and water they had in the car and divided it up to keep the two alive, making sure her great-grandmother was fed everyday.
Briley's daughters told the station their mother is an experienced driver who's made the trip from New Jersey to North Carolina for over 30 years.
So what happened?
“I just think that…due to the heavy traffic and all of the construction and the detours she was on. I think it sent her in a wrong direction," said Ramseur told WTVR.