The family of a missing Julian woman who jumped from a moving vehicle on Interstate 80 is seeking volunteers to form a search party Monday. It may be the last chance to find her alive, relatives said.
Susan Bachman’s parents were driving her to the Clarion Psychiatric Center on Friday when Bachman, 37, opened the car door and jumped out while her father was driving between Clarion and DuBois. William Bachman said his daughter did not want to go to the hospital.
“Many, many times, over and over again, she told us that she didn’t want to go, but we and the doctors felt she really needed to be in a facility that would care for her,” he said.
The search began immediately, when Bachman’s parents ran after her as soon as she left the car. State police arrived on the scene before they were dispatched, thinking a vehicle with flashing lights was in distress. Police, firefighters and search-and-rescue teams assisted by dogs and helicopters searched for five hours Friday.
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Those interested in joining the search Monday are asked to email FindSusanBachman@gmail.com with their name and cellphone number to help organizers coordinate the effort. The search party will meet at noon at the Travel Centers of America truck stop just off Exit 78 of I-80 in Brookville.
Bachman’s brother, Will, said Sunday in an email that the family is worried that if she is still in the woods where she disappeared, “this is almost certainly the last chance to find her alive.
“She will have gone three days without food or clean drinking water,” he said.
State Trooper Ron Chewning, who is leading the investigation, had not contacted police departments outside Pennsylvania as of Sunday afternoon, but said he would put Bachman’s information into the Criminal Intelligence Center for her picture to be distributed to police departments statewide.
The family has posted flyers in several communities and created a website, www.findsusanbachman.com, to spread awareness. Will Bachman, said they had more than 10,000 unique visitors on the site in its first 48 hours.
William Bachman said his daughter had never attempted to run away from the family and that she is not familiar with the area where she fled. Her wallet was found — with her credit and ATM cards, driver’s license and disabled cellphone — in an old barn about 300 yards from where she was last seen.
Will Bachman said she could have gone to several places, including State College.
“One hypothesis would be that she hitched rides all the way back to where she grew up in Simsbury, Connecticut,” her brother said. “She may have tried to go to Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, where my grandma used to live.”
Other possibilities are that she is still in DuBois or has gone to State College, an area she’s familiar with. She also could be running as far away as she can, her brother said.
Her parents chose Clarion instead of Mount Nittany Medical Center because at Clarion, she could be hospitalized voluntarily. If she had been checked in to Mount Nittany, she would have had to stay there until doctors determined that she was well enough to be discharged.
At Clarion, she would be required to stay for a minimum of three days. Her parents also thought she would be more likely to receive employment opportunities in the future if she were a voluntary patient at a psychiatric facility, her father said.
Bachman’s doctor and her parents decided Wednesday that she needed to be admitted to a psychiatric facility after, according to her parents, she had told her doctor that she wanted to hurt herself. She had previously been diagnosed with depression.
“They were extreme behaviors, not violent against other people or to do damage against other people, but she was talking about hurting herself,” William Bachman said. “Whatever it is, the psychosis in her head made her feel like she had to hurt herself by suicide or other ways she could hurt herself. That was the trigger for us to call the Centre County Can Help people.”
Bachman is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 120 pounds. She has red hair and green eyes and was last seen wearing a blue flannel shirt and blue jeans.
Anyone with information is asked to call state police at DuBois at 371-4652.