Missing Surprise woman, 79, found in rural desert area

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A 79-year-old Surprise woman who had been missing since heading to a casino on Tuesday was found Sunday afternoon.

Deputies with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office located the vehicle belonging to Ethel Crescenzo around noon after a man reported a suspicious vehicle in the desert near his home, according to Lt. James Jackson with the Surprise Police Department.

Deputies found Crescenzo's Chevrolet Monte Carlo unoccupied in the area of 179th Avenue and Dove Valley Road, a rural desert area with extremely rough terrain.

Surprise police, K-9 teams from the Arizona Department of Corrections, and MCSO's search and rescue team and helicopter searched the area near Crescenzo's car.

After about four hours of searching, the MCSO air unit spotted Crescenzo down an embankment approximately 300 yards from her vehicle.
Jackson said Crescenzo suffered a number of scrapes and bruises from falling and was in need of medical care. She was flown to a hospital where she was reunited with her family.

Crescenzo told police that she became lost and eventually stopped near the location she was found. She did not know how long she had been lost in the area.

Crescenzo left her home Tuesday morning and was headed to Talking Stick Casino in Scottsdale. Investigators said her bank card was used Wednesday in Buckeye and Tonopah.

A Silver Alert was issued on Thursday with freeway signs alerting the public.