Fayetteville woman reunited with family after three-month trek
Posted December 13, 2010 4:09 p.m. EST
Updated December 13, 2010 6:34 p.m. EST
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A Fayetteville woman who had been missing since September was reunited with her family over the weekend after authorities located her in Richmond, Va.
A police officer in Richmond found Wilma Edwards, 56, living in an abandoned house last week and took her to a homeless shelter, where managers found that she had been reported missing.
"That was a blessing. It was just a feeling I (thought I) could never feel," her son, Kenneth Glover, said Monday about hearing that his mother was alive and well.
Glover said he last saw his mother, who is known around Fayetteville as "Miss Betty," on Sept. 19. For a while, he thought she was staying with relatives, but when weeks passed without word from her, neither Glover nor Cumberland County authorities thought they would see her alive again.
"Normally, people who've been missing for that long, we don't find them in the best of circumstances when we do locate them," said Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.
Edwards often takes long walks around Fayetteville – Glover said she likes to hang out at the Time Savor grocery store on Murchison Road about 10 miles from her home – but she apparently decided to take an even longer walk.
Taking a plastic bucket she uses as a seat when she gets tired, Edwards set out on foot along Interstate 95.
"She had the blanket, sat on the bucket and covered (up to) stayed warm," Glover said. "She walked a little bit, and she caught (a ride with) an 18-wheeler."
Three tractor-trailer rides and 217 miles later, she was in Richmond.
"She said God sent her there," Glover said. "I knew it was nothing but the Lord that saved her."
Although he has heard that his mother once hitchhiked to New York years ago, he said she's never left town on her own before without telling anyone. Seeing her again in Richmond was very emotional, he said.
"She (saw) me, and she just grabbed me and hugged me and started crying. I started crying," he said.
Edwards is now living with another family member.