By Eugenia Jones
For the Dobbs and Trammell families, the outlook seemed grim.
Concern over the whereabouts of Anna Marie Trammell Dobbs first surfaced on Monday evening, August 15, 2022 when her locked vehicle was discovered parked at the Janie Shoals crossing of the Little River, in Wayne County, just barely across the McCreary/Wayne County boundary. Most of Marie’s belongings were safely inside her locked vehicle; however, Marie was nowhere to be found. As concern over Marie’s whereabouts escalated, a witness recalled having seen Marie at the crossing, just a short distance off of the Clark Hollow Road in western McCreary County, earlier on that same Monday afternoon.
The discovery of the missing woman’s locked vehicle at the peaceful river crossing quickly ignited four days filled with desperation, fear, grief, prayers, and finally, rejoicing.
“Everything seemed to come down around me,” Marie told The Voice as she described the events leading up to her disappearance. “I lost my father in February and had been having marital problems. I just needed time to think.”
Driving to the tranquil river crossing, Marie decided to get out of her vehicle and walk a shady path.
“I thought I would walk and look for ginseng like me and Daddy always did when he was alive,” Marie recalled. “I still talk to my Dad every day, and I was talking to him as I looked for ginseng.”
According to Marie, she walked farther and farther while admiring the abundance of ginseng growing in the area. Unfortunately for her, she wandered just far enough to get lost.
“I have neuropathy and can’t walk good,” Marie explained. “I can’t go straight up a hill. I tried finding roads and paths. I tried staying near the water. Maybe, it was from not eating, but I know I must have blacked out. I kept remembering stuff. I kept looking and listening for the sound of cars or four-wheelers.”
Despite happy times spent with her father in the forest while searching for ginseng, Marie said she had no experience with being in the forest alone.
“At night, I’d find a hollowed out log or rocky place,” Marie told The Voice. “I’d take a stick and poke around for snakes. Then I would curl up and sleep. I’m a deep sleeper, so if anything came by, I didn’t know about it.”
Finally, on Friday, Marie saw bush hogged areas and walked toward them.
“When I saw that, I knew I was near someone,” Marie said as she explained how she found her way out of the woods at Ritner and onto Jones Hollow Road. “I got on a road and walked until I came to a house where no one was home. There was a water box or a well house in their yard, and I found a container and got some water to drink. Then I kept walking.”
Marie recalled a few vehicles passing her by without offering assistance. However, according to Marie, one truck did stop to help.
“Then, four-wheelers pulled up, and a woman took care of me until help came,” Marie said. “The first one in my family to show up was my nephew, Brian Scott. His face was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
Marie said she was lost from Monday afternoon until Friday afternoon with no food and drinking river water to survive. After being discovered, she was transported to the hospital by EMS where she received IV fluids.
Now home, Marie has a good appetite.
“I’ve been eating quite a bit,” she said with a laugh. “I can’t get enough to eat.”
Marie credits God, prayers, and her daddy for getting her through the four harrowing days and nights.
“Daddy and I always went looking and digging for ginseng,” Marie said. “He was talking to me while I was out there lost, and he was watching over me.”
Marie said the experience has changed her for the better.
“I wouldn’t want to go through it again,” Marie reflected. “But it did make me realize I am stronger than I once thought.”
She advises anyone who is not an experienced hiker or who is unfamiliar with being in a forest to never go in alone.
Marie also passionately thanked everyone who reached out to help find her.
“I have to let everyone know that I appreciate all of the time and effort spent trying to find me,” Marie exclaimed. “I appreciate all of the love and prayers sent on my behalf. I thank God so much for all of the prayers. God and prayer are what saved me.”
Anna Marie Trammell Dobbs is shown with her husband, Roger Dobbs Jr., and McCreary County Sheriff Randy Waters after she was found alive following her harrowing four days of being lost in a wooded area near the Little River.
South McCreary Fire Department Chief Tim Cox is pictured with an unidentified diver as they searched a deep hole of water near the Janie Shoal’s crossing.
Photos by Eugenia Jones
Whitley City, South McCreary, and West McCreary County Fire Departments assisted in searching for Marie Trammell. Emergency responders are pictured above as they prepare to use divers and boats to search the waters of the Little River.
Officials go above and beyond to find missing woman
Last week’s report of another missing woman launched a four day effort to find Anna Marie Trammell Dobbs.
In addition to the outpouring of effort, concern, and prayers from family and friends, McCreary County Sheriff Randy Waters reported his office worked closely with several other agencies to locate Marie. Sheriff Waters noted West McCreary Fire Department conducted a land search around the area where Marie’s car was found. South McCreary and Whitley City Fire Departments used boats and divers to search the area of the Little River where Marie was last seen before being reported as missing. KSP was contacted to conduct interviews with witnesses and family members. Sheriff Waters also contacted and scheduled a Search and Rescue team (with canines) from Florida to search the Little River area. Blessedly, Marie was found safe one day prior to that scheduled search.
Search for Chitwood planned
The last confirmed sighting of Darlene Chitwood of Winfield, TN was on Saturday, June 18, 2022 as she was walking west on East Appletree Road in Revelo. Darlene parked her car at Big Blue Tires at the eastern end of Appletree Road before she began walking.
The family will be conducting another search for Darlene on Sunday, August 28, 2022. The search will begin by meeting at Big Blue Tires at 2pm. The family asks volunteers with 4-wheelers to help with the search.