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Search to resume for missing woman on naked 'spiritual quest' in Washington forest

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Searchers will try again Saturday to find "Anu" Kelly, missing after she disappeared on a "spiritual quest" in the forest earlier this week. (Facebook image) | Zoom
Search and rescue crews will resume their efforts Saturday to find a woman who disappeared after setting off naked on a "spiritual quest" in the forest of Southwest Washington.

Maureen Kelly, 19, of Vancouver, Wash., has been missing since she told people she was going on a "spiritual quest" Sunday night in a steep and wooded part of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

"Most of the family is pretty upset that she's gone missing this long," said Skamania County Undersheriff Dave Cox. "We're trying to do everything we can to make sure that we get her back safely to them, and that's what we're trying to do."

Cox said the search was suspended after two days of scouring the area with dog teams and 4x4 vehicles failed to locate Kelly or anything "related to this search-and-rescue mission."

The missing woman, who calls herself "Anu", reportedly had nothing other than a fanny pack when she set off.

But her friend Yazman told KIRO Radio's Ron and Don show she's upset all of the coverage of the disappearance has focused on Kelly's nudity.

"That's not what the story is about, that's not what she wanted people to know is that she was naked. The main thing that she really wanted people to know is that this something that she's taking really seriously because she is a very spiritual person and she's doing this to make a statement," Yazman said.

Although she's experienced in the outdoors, the worry grows for the young woman's well being with each passing day.

"We can't give up and we need her home. She may not want to be found, we really don't know but we need her back home with us because she's someone so very important to everyone and we just need her home as soon as we can get her," Yazman said.

Cox said the area is steep and extremely forested, making the search difficult.

"There's a lot of underbrush. A searcher could literally walk right on top of somebody if they're rolled under a log or something. It's very steep in a lot of spots," Cox said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com Reporter
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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