Girlfriend lost after argument
The Desert Sun
Rescuers were astonished when they
spotted Jeannine Landrenaux, the 22-year-old Palm
Desert woman who had been missing for 3 days,
waving her arms in Tahquitz Canyon.
Except for a few cuts and slight dehydration,
Landrenaux was in remarkably good health.
It was a
very pleasant surprise, said Alan Franks of
Riverside County Search and Rescue. For
awhile we didnt think we would be able to
It was about 4
p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19th, when Mike Parker of
the National Guard, who was flying in a Blackhawk
helicopter to check out the area, spotted the
missing woman about 4,000 feet up the canyon in
I just happened to be looking at the right
spot and saw her and S-O-S chalked on the
rocks, Parker said. When you find
someone, it makes all the blood, sweat and tears
we go through worth it.
The National Guard called in the Riverside County
Sheriffs Department who lifted the stranded
woman out of the canyon by helicopter. Because of
the rugged canyon landscape, it took rescuers
more than two hours to get her in a harness, lift
her to the helicopter and get her off the
Once she was off the mountain, Landrenaux was
taken to Desert Regional Medical Center to be
examined. She was later released about 9:15 p.m.
She was fortunate, because sometimes when
you go up there with this kind of heat, it is
only a matter of hours before your body gets
dehydrated and you go into a state of no
return, said Ken Kraft, a hospital
On Sunday, Sept. 17th, Landrenaux was hiking with
a friend when the two became separated. Her
companion was able to make it down the mountain
and notify authorities.
At 6 a.m. Monday, Landrenaux made a 9-1-1 call
with her cellular phone and Verizon Wireless was
able to tell authorities which mountain she was
Officials said she was found near a waterfall,
which could have served as her water supply.
I cant imagine her to be so goofy and
to wander away like that, said her mother,
Barbara Runyard. We are just really excited
that she was found and when we celebrate her 23rd
birthday on Halloween it will be extra special
The Desert Sun
sat in the small secluded spot 4,500 feet up,
Jeannine Landrenaux could have sworn she heard
the sound of helicopters and people talking.
Help! Help! When nobody answered,
reality set in. The chatter-like sound was just
the waterfall nearby. She was all alone.
For three days, the 22-year-old Palm Desert
resident was stranded in the San Jacinto
Mountains with just a water bottle, playing
cards, energy bar wrappers and four shades of
lipstick. Until she was finally saved by the
Riverside County Sheriffs Search and Rescue
team, she thought her days were numbered.
When I saw the helicopter I waved at him,
and when he waved back my legs just buckled
because I was so excited, Landrenaux said
Thursday. I really thought they would never
find me, and I just started to think about how I
would die and if the ants would eat me.
The plight began Sunday when Landrenaux and her
then-boyfriend Don Vieth took the tram up to the
San Jacinto Mountains. At the top, the two got
into an argument and Landrenaux walked off. Vieth
tried to follow, but she lost him. It was
so dumb for me to do what I did leaving him like
that, she said.
As she walked down the trail, she saw a hiker and
gave him some of her water. He was the last
person she saw until her rescue. What she thought
was a trail back to the tram turned into deer
trails. The trails just kept ending, and
suddenly it got dark and I couldnt see
anything, she said.
So she found a rock, curled up and went asleep.
When she awoke the next morning she was
face-to-face with a rattlesnake.
She used every trick she could think of to
survive, including eating leaves and roots,
making a blanket out of leaves, and putting
together an S-0-S sign. I tried the thing
they did in Clan of the Cave Bear,
where they spin sticks to make fire but I found
that to be such movie magic.
As much as she was trying to keep herself
physiologically sound, she also had to battle her
mental state. I kept thinking to myself,
Im 22 years old, and I havent
done anything spectacular in my life and how it
would have been a very boring funeral,
Shes decided to quit smoking, go back to
church and spend more time with family and less
time with boyfriends.