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[Updated] Police: Woman Found, Safe After Getting Scared by Bear

Alexis Aldrich. Courtesy of West Hartford Police

[Updated, 6:30 p.m.] West Hartford Police say that Alexis Aldrich, who was located Wednesday morning after a 10-hour search, had been walking in the woods and got lost after being spooked by a bear.

Alexis Aldrich. Courtesy of West Hartford Police

Alexis Aldrich. Courtesy of West Hartford Police

By Ronni Newton

[Updated, 6:30 p.m.]

West Hartford Police said that Alexis Aldrich, the 23-year-old West Hartford woman who was the subject of an extensive search by law enforcement agencies after her car was found in an MDC parking lot, had gotten lost while walking in the woods after being spooked by a bear.

West Hartford Police Sgt. Tony Anderle said that Aldrich had parked her car in the MDC reservoir’s gravel lot on the south side of Route 44, where an officer found it at 1: 30 a.m. Wednesday, but had eventually crossed the road to follow a path on the north side.

West Hartford Police Lt. Ted Stoneburner said that Aldrich started hiking around 3 or 4 p.m. on the MDC property on the south side of Route 44, where she walks frequently and is very familiar with the paths and terrain. When she finished, she saw a path on the other side of Route 44, and decided to continue hiking and explore that area, Stoneburner said.

However, Anderle said that Aldrich reported that she saw a bear, got nervous, ran in off in a different direction and then got disoriented and lost. She did not have a phone with her.

Aldrich was located near Heublein Tower in Avon shortly before 11:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. She was found by a Heublein employee. She was “dirty, scratched up, and just wanted to go home,” Anderle said, but otherwise was in good condition.

Anderle said that Aldrich had done exactly what police tell hikers not to do. “Go with someone else. Bring a cellphone. You never know when you could trip and turn your ankle,” Anderle said.

A local media source reported that police were looking into whether Aldrich would be charged for the overtime and other expenses involved with the extensive search, but Stoneburner said that was not true.

“It was the perfect storm,” Stoneburner said. “She got lost and had no light, no phone.”

“Thank goodness we had a positive outcome,” Stoneburner said.

[Updated, 11:30 a.m.]

West Hartford Police Lt. Ted Stoneburner said that Alexis Aldrich, 23, was found near Heublein Tower in Avon and is safe. Police had launched a major search for Aldrich after her car was discovered in an MDC Reservoir parking lot at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Stoneburner said that she will be checked by medical staff as a precaution.

Original Story

West Hartford Police and other law enforcement agencies have launched a large search effort for a woman whose car was discovered at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday in a parking lot on the south side of Route 44 adjacent to the MDC reservoir property.

West Hartford Police Lt. Ted Stoneburner said that after the car was discovered, officers called the woman’s parents who said that had not heard from her but confirmed that she often walks in that area of the reservoir – although not in the dark.

West Hartford Police search the MDC reservoir property Wednesday morning for a missing woman whose car was found in the parking lot at 1:30 a.m. Courtesy photo

West Hartford Police search the MDC reservoir property Wednesday morning for a missing woman whose car was found in the parking lot at 1:30 a.m. Courtesy photo

A Connecticut State Police helicopter was brought in early this morning before sunrise for a search but did not turn up anything, Stoneburner said.

According to Connecticut State Police, the missing woman has been identified as Alexis Aldrich, age 23.

Aldrich is described by West Hartford Police as a white female, 5 foot 3 inches tall, 130 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair. She was last seen wearing a tan three-quarter length top, gray stretch pants, and gray shoes.

Police are conducting a grid search of the property on foot, bikes, and vehicles on Wednesday morning, and are asking anyone walking in the reservoir to also look for her. K-9s are also being used in the search.

Anyone with information is asked to contact West Hartford Police at 860-523-5203.

We will update this story as additional details become available.

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