Woman, great-granddaughter who vanished on their way to visit family Christmas Eve found alive

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DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. - The search for a missing 71-year-old woman and her 5-year-old great-granddaughter, who were last seen on Christmas Eve while traveling to visit family, ended after days of frantic searching.

Family members filed a missing person's report after Barbara Briley and her great-granddaughter LaMyra Briley didn't show up on Christmas Eve.

The two were driving from New Jersey to the town of Morven in Anson County, North Carolina.

Barbara's nieces told WTVR that the woman has driven that route for almost 35 years.

Relatives said Barbara first contacted them at 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, when she stopped at a gas station in Ruther Glen, Va.

A clerk, Joanna Strange, told WTVR that she spoke with Barbara.

The woman needed help using the map on her phone, Strange said.

Family members say Barbara and LaMyra should have arrived at their destination around 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

When family members tried to call Barbara, the phone went straight to voicemail.

The phone company reportedly said they can’t track the phone because it is either off or powered down, according to WTVR.

Her family said Barbara is a retired transit driver.

“She’s been driving for years, that was her job, she knows what she should’ve done if she was tired, this is just not normal for us to not hear from her,” her family said.

The FBI, as well as multiple law enforcement agencies, searched multiple states looking for Barbara and her great-granddaughter.

After days of searching, the two were found.

Shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday, Barbara was found sitting unconscious near a tree in Dinwiddle County, according to Virginia State Police.

Her great-granddaughter, 5-year-old La’Myra Briley, was alert and appeared to be unharmed, KFOR sister station WTVR reports.

Barbara regained consciousness and was flown to a local hospital by helicopter for treatment.

She is in serious condition, officials said.

La’Myra received a medical evaluation at the scene and was released to a family member.

The Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police were dispatched to the scene after a property owner discovered the pair and contacted authorities.

Barbara and La’Myra were found in a dark, secluded area about seven miles from the interstate, according to WTVR.

The silver Toyota Rav4 was parked about 1.5 miles off the main road and 45 feet off a dirt path.

The two were found sitting about 50 yards away from the vehicle.

Police told WTVR that they believe Barbara turned onto the dirt road, followed it for about three-tenths of a mile before pulling off into the woods.

At one point, she drove over a small tree, attempted to back up and the Rav4 got stuck in a remote area of the property.

Based on evidence recovered at the scene, it appears Barbara and La'Myra were there for several days, but were sustained by their snacks.

"Where they were found by the vehicle, there were some juice boxes, some apples, and some other items," said Virginia State Police Sgt. Steve Vick. "It appears they have been eating and drinking several things during that time period."

Officials said they don't suspect foul play in their disappearance.