Missing Maries County Woman Found

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MARIES COUNTY - Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman said a woman who had gone missing while floating on an inner tube on the Gasconade River has been found. 

After a storm slowed search efforts Wednesday morning, 34-year-old Penny D. Curtner was found and was treated for minor injuries. Curtner found her way to Ed Berkholz' campground at the Indian Ford Resort near Highway 42 after she had been lost in the woods. 

Berkholz brought her to the Maries County Sheriff's Office. Heitman said deputies visited Berkholz' camp, and multiple other camps, Tuesday during the search.

Curtner, from St. James, began floating Monday afternoon with four other friends at Bell Chute, a public launch point for canoes and rafts on the Gasconade River. Curtner floated ahead of her friends, and when it became dark, paddled to shore near Moreland's Catfish. She spent the next two days traveling through the woods, with her inner tube, in search of help. She even spent Tuesday night in a tractor. She traveled back to the river Wednesday and floated up to Indian Ford Resort.

Heitman said her family came to the sheriff's office shortly after Curtner arrived.

"It was a nice reunion for them," Heitman said. "We were all expecting the worst from the storms, and being out in the river for about 48 hours. We assumed she had drowned, and we were preparing for the worst."

"We are very lucky that she was found safe, I had my doubts with the rain and storm," Heitman said in a news release.