Rescued California camper says she fled a stranger threatening her with a knife

Sheryl Powell reunites with her husband and children after becoming lost in Inyo National Forest following escape from an attacker.

(CNN)Sheryl Powell, who went missing in a California forest for four days, said she was threatened by a bald man who had a knife, the Inyo County Sheriff's Department said.

The 60-year-old from Huntington Beach and her dog went missing in Inyo National Forest, sparking an exhaustive search by authorities.
During that time, she said she was approached by a stranger who threatened her and her dog with a knife and made a sexual remark, the sheriff's department said. Powell ran away and got lost.
The department asked for the public's help in identifying the man, who was described as a white male with "tanned skin, potentially with a Southern accent, around 50 years old," armed with a 6 to 8 inch bladed knife with a dark colored handle.
    "Now that Mrs. Powell has been rescued and is back with her family, our primary concern is public safety," Inyo County Sheriff's Investigator Shane Scott said. "Short of Mrs. Powell's eyewitness account of the suspect, there have been no other reports of someone matching this description or incidents reported in Inyo County that are similar to this."
    On Tuesday, Farrah Powell, her daughter, told HLN's Lynn Smith authorities are looking for the man.
    "It's scary to think about the fact that he's still out there," she said.


    Sheryl Powell disappeared Friday near the Grandview Campground in the Bristlecone Pine Forest area of Inyo National Forest after taking the family dog for a bathroom break while her husband moved their Jeep, according to the sheriff's office.
    The man who threatened her with a knife was "a big guy -- burly, bald-headed, tan-skinned," Powell told NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday morning: "I was told do what he wants and he'll refrain from using the knife on us. It scared me enough to act pretty docile and let him think that I was gonna go along with him."
    Given "a chance" to escape, she took off with her dog and ran, she said: "And he was pursuing me. But I was only concerned about that for the first day. I never saw him again after the first day."
    The sheriff's office said it was "grateful that Mrs. Powell and her dog were found alive and well.
    "Our office is actively investigating the circumstances surrounding her disappearance. We have no further information at this time," the sheriff's office said.

    How to survive

    After the first day, she concentrated on "how to get through this... how to get water, how to get back to my family," she told NBC.
    Powell's son, Greg, told HLN that Powell did not have food or water with her when she escaped the knife-wielding stranger.
    The toddler who disappeared at a Michigan campsite has been found alive, police say