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Missing Pownal Woman Found in New York

Rita Sweet

Update: Rita Sweet was found at about 7 p.m. walking out of a wooded area on Route 346, about 200 feet over the state line in New York, by state police.  

Sweet verified her identity with state police and told troopers that she left her home after a money-related argument with family members. She said she had intended to walk to Petersburg, N.Y., to meet unspecified friends and family.  

She further said she purposely lay down in the shade near the Hoosic River and slept during the day and chose to start walking when it cooled off.

Sweet was showing signs of dehydration and had several blisters on her feet but was in otherwise good health. She was brought to Southern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington for medical evaluation and there she was reunited with family members.


POWNAL, Vt. — A 71-year-old local woman has been reported missing since Monday morning.

Rita J. Sweet reportedly walked away from a residence on VT Route 346 near US Route 7 on Monday at about 11 a.m. after a verbal argument with family members.

State police were notified Monday night at 10 p.m. she had not located.

She may have been walking north on VT 346 toward North Pownal. She was last seen wearing blue floral-print shorts, blue tank top and blue sandals.

She has gray hair, blue eyes, stands 5-foot-4, weighs 170 to 180 pounds, wears glasses and has a distinct mole under her left eye.  

Officials continue to have concern for Sweet because of her age, minor medical issues and that she is unprepared for inclement weather or for staying out overnight.

Troopers from Shaftsbury were joined by members with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation; Pownal Fire Department; Rennsselaer (N.Y.) County sheriff deputies; Vermont State Police Search and Rescue Team; and a fixed-wing aircraft from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine for both ground and air searches.

After following up on several tips, all indications are that Rita is in New York; with the last possible sighting in Hoosick, N.Y., at approximately 11 a.m. Rensselaer County deputies continue their search efforts and any leads in that area can be referred to their dispatch at 518-270-5252.

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