Canadian woman found alive, husband still missing

Canadian woman found alive, husband still missing

Credit: RCMP

Albert and Rita Chretien

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by Kim Fields and Jamie Grey

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBJamieGrey

Idaho's News Channel 7

Posted on May 6, 2011 at 8:49 PM

Updated Saturday, May 7 at 5:50 PM

ELKO COUNTY, Nevada -- A woman missing for almost two months has been found alive, but her husband is still missing.

Rita Chretien , 56, was located Friday afternoon in Elko, Nevada. Albert Chretien, 59, is still missing.

The Elko County Sheriff's Office says two men riding ATVs in the remote area came across a van near the Bruneau River in northern Nevada near the Idaho border.  Inside the van was Rita Chretien.

The two men rode nearly ten miles on their ATVs to get cell service and called Elko County dispatchers.

The two men helped guide an air ambulance crew to the van's location, and the medical helicopter took Rita Chretien to St. Luke's Hospital in Twin Falls for treatment.  She was listed in fair condition Friday night and remained so Saturday.

The Twin Falls Police Department interviewed her at the hospital to get any information about where her husband might be.

Rita Chretien told a detective her husband left the van on March 22 to find help.  She said he had a GPS unit and was walking on State Route 225 looking for help.  

The Elko County Sheriff says the couple took a wrong turn on March 19 and ended up stranded due to bad weather conditions.

The sheriff's department says that area has had heavy snow and rain through the winter and spring, causing the river to flood the road.  It says the road is virtually impassable, and the van got stuck.

The sheriff says Rita Chretien survived by drinking water from a nearby creek and rationing portions of a large bag of trailmix the couple had in the van.

The Elko County Sheriff's Office says it plans to work with the Owyhee County Sheriff's Office to begin a search for Albert Chretien Saturday morning.  Rescue crews will drive part of the way, and then they will go by ATV in an attempt to find him.  

The couple's family has been searching since March 31. The last time the Chretiens had been seen was in Baker City, Oregon, where they stopped to fill their vehicle with gas.

On April 3, Baker City Police were contacted by a local business owner who said the couple was in her store on March 19 inquiring about tourist destinations in the Baker City area. They were given the tourist information.  That is the same day Rita Chretien told detectives they'd made a wrong turn and gotten stuck.

The Baker and Malheur Sheriff's offices searched by land, and by air for the couple. Search efforts were scaled back after 23 days.

The pair is from British Columbia and were driving to Las Vegas, Nevada for a trade show when they disappeared.

Albert Chretien is 59 years old.  He is about 5'6" tall and weighs about 175 pounds.  He was last seen wearing a khaki shirt, black jeans, and a hat. 

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