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South Dakota authorities to resume search for Colorado woman who went missing after flood


RAPID CITY, South Dakota — Authorities in western South Dakota will resume a search for a 24-year-old Colorado woman who was caught in flood waters while driving last month.

Kristen Lakin has been missing since June 17. The Grand Junction, Colorado, resident was traveling south on Highway 85 with her friend Roxanne Bleibaum — both of whom were back to Colorado after working in western North Dakota's oil patch — when they were caught in a flash flood that swept across the South Dakota highway.

Authorities said the 57-year-old Bleibaum was found the next day suffering from exposure and exhaustion after apparently walking for several miles, the Rapid City Journal reported ( ).

The vehicle was found in a ditch on Highway 85 north of Belle Fourche. The women were separated by flood waters that carried trees, branches and other debris.

Authorities had suspended the search for Lakin late last month after scouring several days along and near Battle Creek, about 20 miles north of Belle Fourche.

Butte County Sheriff Fred Lamphere said as the high plains have dried out, he has hope that officials can find Lakin.

"It's just hard for people to imagine that somebody can just disappear," Lamphere said.

The sheriff is hoping to enlist recovery dogs, horses, all-terrain vehicles and a large crew to search areas along the creek later this month. The search is now considered a recovery mission, he said.

"She probably succumbed to the water at some point," Lamphere said.

Information from: Rapid City Journal,

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