A former Modesto school kindergarten teacher that went missing almost three weeks ago in Merced County, CA was found alive Friday morning, police said. Jamie Tull, 33, was found in a field about a half-mile east of where she crashed her vehicle, according to Merced County Sheriff’s Department officials. She was found in the middle of a 7,400-acre ranch. She was in the heat of the sun and allegedly eating bugs to survive.
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Tull had avoided searchers in the area since she disappeared on July 17, according to Sheriff Vern Warnke. The Sheriff's department utilized a helicopter, K9 unit and ground officers to search for Tull, but to no avail. Tull’s phone last registered in an area about four miles from the crash, but police who searched that area found no sign of her anywhere.
Tull's father said she that when she was found she was severely sunburned and dehydrated, but alert enough to speak. She was immediately flown to a hospital in Fresno.
Sheriff Warnke said that, when he arrived, Tull only wanted food and water. She said she was trying to get to Yosemite. He also mentioned that Tull had good vital signs at the time of her discovery.
Investigators said she had been out wandering when searchers found her near a fence. Her personal belongings were discovered near the water tank, which led to a cattle trough. The area Tull was found is private property beyond any paved roads. Sheriff Warnke said coyotes and mountain lions are known to frequent the area. She was found 60 miles from her intended destination.
The family of Jamie Tull had offered a reward of $100,000 after initial efforts proved to be fruitless. It is unclear if, or when, the men who found her will collect the reward.
The group of three ecstatic volunteer searchers who found Jamie Tull say that she was in tremendous pain at the time of her rescue. She was barely able to move due to the horrific sunburn and lack of water/food.
“Originally, started out last week, we had a team of dogs, and that fell through so Robert and I decided together you know, we’re gonna just go out there and get a hold of Mario,” said Lynn Garber, who found the woman.
“We got to the gate, he asked if we can go pass there and I was like yeah, you know might as well,” said Mario Bianchi, who helped find the woman.
Jamie Tull was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 10 years ago following an unspecified traumatic incident that has been described as 'being taken against her will'. She was deemed a 'high functioning' when actively taking her medication, according to a local news outlet. On the the day she disappeared, drawings and papers were reportedly found near the scene where Jamie Tull’s crashed car was found abandoned. She sounds like Monica from the Showtime series Shameless.
“Evidently, she’s got some issues emotionally as to why she didn’t want to be found,” Warnke said. “We’ll let the family work through that.”
According to Tull's father, Jamie Tull had not taken her medication for about six months because a pastor and his wife told her that pills' lead to demons'.
Way to go, pastor! The whole 'don't use modern medicine' thing didn't work out so well for Steve Jobs, what makes you think it will work for others?
Neither authorities, nor Jamie Tull’s family have publicly commented about to what extent the teacher’s mental health issues may have added to her disappearance and current mental state. Sources say this is NOT THE FIRST TIME that Jamie Tull has gone missing.
Not the first time? Where is her family, friends and overall support net? This sounds like a preventable near-death catastrophe that could have been easily avoided, at the very least the chances diminished, by proper mental health care and an iota of care from her 'support net'.
Tull was a kindergarten teacher at Woodrow Elementary School in Modesto. She had plans to transfer to Crossroads Elementary School for the upcoming school year. In June, internet sleuths found public documents showing she had filed a restraining order and dissolution of marriage due to domestic violence. Coupled with not taking her prescribed medicine and the stress of whatever caused her to file the restraining order and divorce papers could well have triggered such an episode.
Jamie Tull is currently in stable condition and the physical prognosis is that she will recover fully.
She might need about twelve gallons of aloe for her sunburn and perhaps she should consider taking her medications to balance the real demons that plague her.
She's probably a great person when she's taken care of and we wish her the best.