Charlotte County Sheriff's detectives report a missing Tampa woman was located by the CCSO Aviation helicopter at 9:20 p.m. Sunday.
The helicopter with special heat-seeking equipment located a "hot spot" off Riverside Drive around Roy and Wilson streets. The location is south of the Lazy Lagoon Mobile Home Park off U.S. 17 northeast of Punta Gorda.
The helicopter equipment showed someone standing by a tree in heavy brush. CCSO deputies and detectives responded to the area and found 27-year-old Ellen Anne Quinlan who has been missing since Thursday.
Ellen Anne Quinlan
A path had to be cut into very heavy brush. CCSO got to Quinlan at 9:30 p.m. Charlotte County Fire/EMS transported her to Charlotte Regional Medical Center in Punta Gorda where she was talking and appeared to be in good condition.
At an afternoon meeting, police said Quinlan was found in a heavily wooded area about a mile south of where her car was abandoned.
"Ms. Quinlan was found dehydrated and disoriented, and Charlotte County EMS transported her to Charlotte Regional Medical Center in Punta Gorda where she was kept overnight for observation with her parents by her side," said Col. David Bonsall.
Her private medical information is not being released.
"The area is posted about the danger of alligators in those waterways and it was a big concern in our search operations," said Capt. Jim Kenville.
The abandoned car was found on Shell Creek Court off U.S. 17. A resident called CCSO Friday night to report something was wrong as a car had its window down and a purse on the front seat for several hours.
Witnesses said a woman exited the water in a disoriented condition about six hours earlier Friday before her car was found. They saw a woman walking in and around the Lazy Lagoon Mobile Home Park barefoot and then the trail ended. The FLIR equipment located her about a mile south of where her car was found.