Search continues for missing woman

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Search continues for missing womanThe search for a missing Ventura woman continued as family and friends in the Ridgecrest area sought clues for the whereabouts of Lisa Harvey, who disappeared last weekend on her way to Lake Isabella.

“This can’t be real. Please let me wake up from this nightmare. Please, God, lead us, someone, anyone to her. Now.” The heartfelt plea was posted Wednesday by Jennifer Cotterell of Ridgecrest, leader of a grassroots campaign to find her cousin.

According to Cotterell, Harvey decided on Saturday that she would travel to the Lake Isabella-Bodfish area to visit family on her father’s side.

“We know she reached out and talked to family, and got directions,” said Cotterell. On Harvey’s way from Ventura, she reportedly stopped in Fillmore to see a friend.

“We don’t know what time she left her friend’s house, but at 11:50 p.m. she called and said she missed her turn, and she was in Tulare,” said Cotterell. “We don’t know if she was in the city or county of Turlare, or what she meant by that.”

Cotterell said that no one knows what route Harvey was driving, but based in pieces of information strung together, searchers assume she took Highway 126 east to Interstate 5, then went north on Highway 99 to Bakersfield.

Harvey should have gotten off on Highway 178, but authorities believe she continued on the 99 to end up somewhere in Tulare County just north of Kern.

“There was a pocket call from her phone to her cousin in Lake Isabella at 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning, but according to the cousin there was no one on the other end of the phone.” Cotterell said the family was able to log into phone records, but no other incoming or outgoing calls were logged after that.

Based on a series of unfortunate circumstances relating to an outage and an obscure cell plan, the family could not locate her last known position in relationship to cellular towers.

“We pulled up her other information and there is no activity on her bank account or her credit cards,” said Cotterell.

The family approached Kern County Search and Rescue to find assistance, but were informed that given the broad search area — and the fact that she may not have been within Kern limits — that group could not help.

Family members are worried that she may have fallen asleep at the wheel and driven off the road.

Cotterell and her family began driving any routes they could within the parameters that could plausibly have been navigated by Harvey. “One of the things we are doing is pulling off and looking around for anything unusual.”

Cotterell added that they have also stopped at as many gas stations as possible in hopes that someone remembers Harvey’s stopping and asking for directions.

“A few people, some we know and some we don’t, have messaged us and let us know that they have gone out looking too,” said Cotterell. But no trace has yet been reported.

On Thursday volunteers pilots agreed to fly over potential travel routes to see if they could spot Harvey’s white 2000 Toyota Solara. At press time, no update was available.

“We are still searching. We need help!” Cotterell posted Thursday on Facebook. “If you are in the Kern, Tulare, Delano, Lake Isabella area and have free time and a friend to go with you, please go out and look.

“We would like more eyes on Highway 155 and Hot Springs Road. First and foremost, take care of yourself. Do not try to drive and search alone. Please be safe out there!”

Harvey is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing between 230-270 pounds. She was last seen wearing a white, short-sleeved top and blue cuffed jeans. Her license plate is 4KKU552.

Anyone with information about Harvey’s whereabouts is encouraged to call the authorities at 805-218-8155 or 805-200-7421.

To reach her family, call Cotterell at 805-901-3863 or Amanda Thorn at 805-218-8155.

UPDATE: After going to press, the News Review learned that a law-enforcement examination of Harvey's phone records revealed that her last call was placed from Palmdale, not Tulare. Cotterell said that the family is working with officials to come up with a new search plan using updated parameters. New information will be reported as it becomes available.

Story First Published: 2017-05-05