'It's a blessing': Missing grandma found alive lying face down in creekbed

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Officials said a grandmother who had not been seen in five days was found alive in the woods behind her west Charlotte apartment complex.

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Sandra Adams, 69, was reported missing after family members went to check on her at her Midland Avenue apartment Friday morning. They said Adams was last seen Wednesday and was known to walk around her complex but always returned home.

After days of searching, Adams' grandson, Nate Cassel, and his friend, Shawn Willis, decided to search one last time.

"Man, we were just lookin' for his grandma. Man, nobody was really helpin' him," Willis said.

They figured she had to be somewhere close to her apartment.

"He wanted to go look in the woods. I woke up this morning with the same idea: Let's go search the woods in the neighborhood," Willis said.

On Monday morning, Cassel and three of his friends fought their way through the heat and heavy brush along the small creek behind Adam's place.

They searched for about a quarter mile until they found her near the park, lying face down in the creekbed. For a few heartbreaking moments, Cassel thought he had lost her.

They called family members to break the news and the family immediately called the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

"We got a call about finding a possible deceased person in the creekbed," said CMPD Officer Brian Nicholson.

When Nicholson got to the park, he said Willis showed him where they found the body, but then something remarkable happened.

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"As we were coming toward her, she raised her arm up," Nicholson said.

Everyone was in shock.

"We were amazed. We called for MEDIC, you know?" said Willis.

Adams wasn't able to talk much when they rescued her, but she was alive.

"It's a blessing. It's a blessing, a big blessing," Cassel said. "A miracle. She's a strong lady."

Police told Channel 9 Adams gathered enough strength to tell them she fell while going on a walk. They don't believe any foul play was involved.

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