Sighting of bleeding woman remains a mystery

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 6, 2004

WINDSOR – There are far more questions than answers surrounding the mysterious woman yelling for help that was heard and seen by a 16-year-old hunter near Morning Road down in the Woodard Hill area of Bertie County.

This vastly remote area of the county is mostly fields and woods, and as day turns to night, mostly darkened with shadows.

Most of the heartbeats heard in the area are mainly from wildlife, and in this case, one very frightened teenager as he was about to pack up from his deer stand and head in for the evening.

Bertie County Sheriff Greg Atkins, not identifying the teen, said the events that unfolded over the course of a few minutes has brought about one of the biggest mysteries he’s faced in a long time.

&uot;The young man was hunting,&uot; Atkins said. &uot;It was at the time of day when it’s not quite dark and it’s not quite light.

&uot;As he was getting ready to exit his tree stand, he heard a woman scream,&uot; Atkins said.

&uot;He could tell there was something wrong from the sound as she continued to yell for help, but he could not see anyone. The screams were coming from a field out of his view.&uot;

As the teenager climbed from his stand, he got on his four-wheeler and made his way from the field in which he was hunting to an opening where he saw a woman running about mid-way across a cut corn field.

&uot;The young man drove out toward her and could plainly see the woman was about 5-foot, 7-inches tall, white with blonde hair. She was holding a baby that he said appeared to be about three or four years old,&uot; Atkins said.

&uot;As he approached her, she was hysterical and screamed at him to get away from her,&uot; he continued.

The teenager, scared from what he was experiencing, left on his vehicle and reported what he had seen to his mother, who in turn called the sheriff’s office.

&uot;What bothers me,&uot; Atkins stated, &uot;Is that the woman appeared to this young man to have a very bad cut around the neck area, and he described a lot of blood that looked to be soaking into her clothing.

&uot;This leads me to think she was badly injured, but we don’t have a clue as to who she is, where she is or anything else at this point,&uot; he added.

Atkins called in a search team and went to the point where the woman was last seen running, but there was no trace of blood to be found.

&uot;The field was planted in corn and the stalks had been cut after harvesting,&uot; Atkins said. &uot;The weeds and grass had grown up pretty good in around the stalks and it was really impossible to trace anything out there.

&uot;We called in the K-9 unit, but that was a dead-end as well,&uot; he said.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol Thermal Imaging Unit helicopter was called in and after several thorough searches of the area, nothing was spotted.

&uot;We feel like the search was very thorough,&uot; Atkins said. &uot;The pilot said he could even see rabbits, but no person.&uot;

The wooded area where the woman was last seen running toward, is a narrow strip of woodland – approximately 100 yards deep – that leads back to a road.

Sheriff Atkins said the only theory at this time is that possibly she came from the roadway area – possibly got out of a car – and after running through the wooded area and halfway across that field, decided this was not the best thing to do, and ran back to where she came from.

&uot;At this point… I just don’t know,&uot; Atkins said. &uot;It’s a mystery to me. We’ve interviewed the young man several times and I have to say I’m convinced he saw what he said he saw.

&uot;We just don’t have any answers as to who the woman is or why she was out there and we don’t any idea of what may have caused the apparent injury,&uot; he said.

One family that lives back in that area, and the only one for miles, was also interviewed by the sheriff’s office, but they stated they knew nothing of the situation nor had they seen or heard anything on the night in question, which was Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Sheriff Atkins is asking anyone who might have information or may know of or have heard someone speak of a white woman, age unknown, approximately 5-foot, 7-inches tall with blonde hair who was recently injured or is missing – and who may have a child around the age of 3 or 4 – to call his office immediately.

The number to call is 252-794-5330. Calls will be kept confidential.