Huge search turns up missing Los Osos woman


Correction: Because of incorrect information from the Sheriff's Department, an earlier version of this story gave the wrong name for the Search and Rescue Unit K-9 handler who found the missing woman. His name is Dave Smee.

A 62-year-old Los Osos woman with dementia who went missing Monday morning was found alive near a creek late Tuesday afternoon.

Felisa Lizada, from Honolulu, was taken via ambulance to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo for a medical evaluation after rescuers found her in thick brush near a creek at 4 p.m. Tuesday. She had sustained moderate injures consistent with a fall, authorities said.

Dave Smee with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue Unit and his K-9 partner, Lassie, located Lizada near the creek off Los Osos Valley Road between Lariat Drive and Clark Valley Road.

Lizada had last been seen at 8:30 a.m. Monday in the 1800 block of Seventh Street in Los Osos.

The mass efforts to find her included ground and air searchers, reverse-911 calls asking Los Osos residents for help and mutual aid from neighboring counties.

Residents were asked to check backyards, sheds and vehicles where she might have gone for shelter.

All told, 55 search and rescue personnel participated in the 24-hour effort, authorities said.

Horse patrols and search dogs were also used, including a bloodhound from the FBI in Ventura County.

A command post was set up at Sunnyside Elementary School in Los Osos.

While local authorities follow many procedures to find missing people, not all are found.

Among the cases still open in the area are those of San Luis Obispo resident George Carpenter, missing since December 2009; Shell Beach resident Helen Thompson, missing since August 2008; and Washington resident Vern Erno, who was visiting Arroyo Grande and went missing Dec. 28, 2003.

Those cases, among others, still have detectives assigned to them, according to the Sheriff’s Department, and are listed in state databases, as well as with the FBI.

When fresh leads come in, detectives check them, officials said.