Search team finds lost hiker


A joint search effort by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, US Forest Service, La. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Natchitoches Parish Fire Protection District #4 and volunteers Saturday, Oct. 76 led to finding a lost hiker from Ascension Parish in Kisatchie National Forest.

Glenmora Police Department contacted the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office at 1 p.m. reporting that Rapides Parish Communications Center had received a 911 call from a female reporting that while she was hiking on the Backbone Trail in Kisatchie National Forest she became lost. Sommer R. Worsham, 20, of Prairieville informed operators she only had three percent battery life left on her cellphone and her GPS had her traveling in circles between Montrose Road and La. Hwy 119 in a clearcut.

911 Public Safety Answering Point with Automatic Location Identification vantage points collected by Rapides and Natchitoches 911 Centers provided a general grid search area for responding units. Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s deputies with all-terrain vehicles, US Forest Service, Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Agents, Natchitoches Parish Fire District #4 with ATVs and volunteer squirrel hunters responded and began searching the area for Worsham. 911 operators made contact with Worsham’s family in Ascension Parish who confirmed she planned a hiking trip Saturday morning.

Although an avid hiker, this was her first hiking trip in Kisatchie Forest. She arrived at approximately 8:20 a.m. and began her hike on Backbone Trail and became lost around 1p.m. Worsham’s brother, Corey, traveled from Prairieville to assist in the search. At approximately 7 p.m., searchers found Worsham unharmed and grateful. Worsham stated she had collected rainwater and had mosquito repellant just in case she had to spend the night in the wilderness.

Worsham also stated she plans on hiking again in Kisatchie Forest but“…just not alone.”