Roderick Paul Clifton, Paula Lane
CARSON CITY, NV - A Gardnerville, Nevada woman who survived in the high country in Alpine County "was one very lucky person", says the doctor treating her.
Paula Lane, who left Citrus Heights with her boyfriend one week ago for her Gardnerville home, was found by her brother crawling along a Sierra highway around 8 p.m. Wednesday.
STORY: Woman missing for a week discovered alive; body of boyfriend found
Lane was malnourished and had first-degree frostbite on her toes, said Dr. Vijay Maiya at Carson Tahoe Hospital. He said she survived on tomatoes the couple had with them and by sheltering in a hollowed-out tree.
He described her condition as stable but she has a long road ahead of her medically and emotionally.
According to Alpine County Undersheriff Robert Levy, Lane told searchers her boyfriend, Rod Clifton, 44, had driven his recently-purchased Jeep Cherokee around locked gates closing off Burnside Lake Road in the Pickett's Junction area to test out the vehicle's four-wheel drive. The Jeep became stuck in mud.
Clifton left Lane in the Jeep Friday morning to seek help. He didn't return.
Lane stayed with the vehicle until Monday morning, she told searchers.
Levy said Lane told them she found her boyfriend's body as she made her way to the highway. Searchers found Clifton about four-fifths of a mile north of Burnside Lake.
The couple left Citrus Heights Thursday afternoon, Nov. 29, for Nevada. Relatives reported them missing the next day when Lane didn't meet her mother for dinner as planned and they couldn't reach the couple by cellphone.
Family and friends began searching for Clifton and Lane last Saturday. Dozens of searchers from multiple law enforcement agencies also looked for the couple on the ground and from the air.
Linda Hathaway, Lane's sister, said their brother wasn't giving up on finding the missing pair. He and a friend were searching along Highway 88 when they spotted Lane.
"I found her, I found her," is what Hathaway said her brother exclaimed when he called with the news.
She said her younger sister and brother have a special bond and she couldn't explain how he was able to find Lane.
Lane is the mother of 11-year-old twin sons.
Clifton is survived by three daughters in Cameron Park and his mother and niece in Citrus Heights.