Missing Alaska sled dog musher turns up alive, safe

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 14, 2011 1:04 AM

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - An Alaska sled dog musher who had been missing since the Memorial Day weekend has been located alive and safe, the Alaska State Troopers said Saturday.

Melanie Gould, the subject of a search that started June 1, contacted troopers in Cantwell, a community outside of Denali National Park. She is a seven-time veteran of the celebrated Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race,

Gould was transported from there to a hospital in Wasilla, said Megan Peters, a trooper spokeswoman. "She appeared to be in good condition," Peters said in an email.

Peters did not elaborate on Gould's medical state.

Gould did tell troopers that she knew they had been searching for her and that she stayed away from those efforts until now, Peters said.

Troopers on Friday called off their search for Gould, a 34-year-old musher who abruptly abandoned her home, dogs and jobs in the town of Talkeetna, near Mount McKinley.

The trooper search was initiated after Gould failed to show up for work at a local bakery on May 31. An employer contacted the troopers, and friends launched their own search efforts. Friends also set up a Facebook page titled "Have You Seen Melanie Gould?"

Friends said they were fearful because it was out of character for Gould to leave her dogs without care or to fail to show up for work without notice. Gould also left her drying laundry out at her home, friends noted.

Troopers found Gould's truck a week ago parked on the Denali Highway east of Cantwell. But they did not see any sign of the musher.

Troopers have maintained through the entire search that there were no signs of foul play in Gould's disappearance.

(Editing by Greg McCune)