Update: Missing Burrillville woman yells for help, found by kayakers in Nipmuc River

Lynch, left, and Mainville spoke with NRI NOW from the scene.

BURRILLVILLE – An earnest search of the forested area behind a home on Callahan School Street for a missing woman that began Tuesday afternoon had a happy ending, when she was located alive and well just after 7 p.m.

Vicki Sharples, 51, went missing around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 13, and was located in the woods behind her home after an extensive search, according to Burrillville Police Chief Col. Stephen Lynch.

Sharples, who lives just down the road from the Harrisville Fire Department at 6 Callahan School St., is the wife of a volunteer member of the department.

“She went missing from this location at sometime around 9:30 this morning,” Lynch told NRI NOW. “Her disappearance has triggered a very strong search effort with Harrisville Fire in the lead.”

Lynch provided an update around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday night, noting that Sharples would need medical assistance, but was “alive and well.”

“We are in the process of removing her from the woods area near her residence now,” Lynch said.

Harrisville Fire Chief Michael Gingell later said that Sharples was located in the Nipmuc River between Round Top and Sherman Farm Roads.

She was reportedly found by group of recreational kayakers that had launched from Shippee Bridge.

“They heard her yelling for help and alerted 911,” said Gingell. “She was at the water’s edge partially in the water.”

Firefighters and police entered the water and removed Sharples to a kayak. She was later transported to Fatima Hospital by Harrisville rescue.

The search was active when NRI NOW first visited the scene early Tuesday evening, with dozens of paid and volunteer firefighters and law enforcement officials from Burrillville and surrounding communities visible in the area. Lynch noted that the wooded area behind Sharples home is extensive, and HFD was coordinating multiple search teams from Manville, Woonsocket, North Smithfield and the state police, including a K-9 unit, and around 50 individuals.

Extensive forests behind the home, just by Toti’s Tavern, are heavily wooded, and covered with thick brush and water, Lynch noted.

“We’re out searching with our personnel, ATVs… we had a drone up in the air,” said Harrisville Capt. Norman Mainville of the ongoing effort, which included interviews with neighbors.

“One concern is she suffers from medical seizures and has mobility issues,” Lynch said.

While not all details in the case had been made public, Lynch noted that the mobility issues made Sharples disappearance, “unusual.”

“It’s a concern,” he said.

At the time, Lynch said emergency efforts were, “two-fold,” both as a search and a potential missing person investigation.

“We take in all aspects of what led up to her disappearance,” he said.

Lynch later informed NRI NOW that there was no foul play involved in the incident.

The expected release of a flyer with a photo of Sharples was canceled following her safe recovery.

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