The search intensifies for San Andreas resident Helen Coultrup, 87, who has been missing since Aug. 3. 

The vehicle of a San Andreas woman who disappeared on Aug. 3 was located this morning near Wilseyville, but 87-year-old Helen Coultrup remains missing.

Coultrup’s 2010 Toyota Yaris was found several miles away from the highway on a dirt road by a citizen recreating in the area, according to a news release issued by the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office. The individual notified law enforcement of the discovery at approximately 8:10 a.m. Aug. 15.

After the identity of the vehicle was confirmed, an intensified search for the missing grandmother was initiated, involving Sheriff’s detectives, the California Highway Patrol Air Unit and the Calaveras County Volunteer Search and Rescue Team, including a search dog.

Additional assistance has been requested via the California Office of Emergency Services Law Enforcement branch.

“The search effort will be coordinated with the various specially trained responding mutual aid teams,” the release stated.

"She was stuck, is what I was told," Coultrup's granddaughter Molly Coldani wrote to the Enterprise via Facebook message. "(She) wasn't in an accident."

Coldani has organized multiple search parties since her grandmother’s disappearance as well as a Facebook group called “Helpers for Helen."

In past interviews with the Enterprise, she stated that her grandmother is an avid driver with a wide area of travel, though she is not likely to leave her car for recreational hikes. Although able to live independently, Coultrup suffers from occasional memory problems.

Coultrup was last seen on the afternoon of Aug. 3, leaving the Mar-Val parking lot in Valley Springs to turn onto Highway 26. Since receiving the report of her disappearance the following day, the Sheriff’s Office issued a Silver Alert and a nationwide broadcast, according to Sgt. Greg Stark with the Sheriff’s Office.

A search of Coultrup’s residence and an investigation into her possible path of travel as well as financial records was also initiated, the release stated.

According to Coldani, Coultrup’s bank account has remained inactive since her disappearance.

Coultrup is described as a white female, 5-foot, 6-inches in height, weighing 200 pounds, with brown eyes and short, curly, gray hair. She often wears glasses attached to a necklace and was likely wearing a pink or fuchsia shirt at the time of her disappearance.

Anyone with information regarding Coultrup’s whereabouts is encouraged to call 911 or the Sheriff’s Office at (209) 754-6500.


Dakota graduated from Bret Harte in 2013 and went to Davidson College, NC where she earned a bachelor's degree in Arab studies. After spending time studying in the Middle East and Europe, she is happy to be home, writing about the community she loves.

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