A South Florida woman was rescued from a sewer system three weeks after she was reported missing when a passerby heard her cries for help, officials said.
The 43-year-old woman, who has a history of mental illness and drug abuse, told Delray Beach officers she went swimming in a flood control canal near her boyfriend’s home March 3, the day she was reported missing, a police report released Wednesday said.
In shallow water, she said she found a door, which took her into the sewer system. She said she began walking through the tunnels and became lost.
She said she wandered the system for 20 days before she saw some light and walked toward it, where she found a storm drain Tuesday. She yelled at a passerby for help. The person summoned the fire department, which pulled her naked, dirty and dehydrated from the 8-foot deep drain using a ladder and a harness. She was too weak to stand, fire spokeswoman Dani Moschella said. She was taken to the hospital for treatment.
The officer who interviewed the woman expressed skepticism about her story, writing in his report he found it “unusual.” Police said the woman did not meet the criteria for commitment to a mental hospital, but her family was told to get her help.
Police spokesman Ted White said investigators do not suspect foul play.
“We don’t believe there was any type of crime committed,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like she was taken against her will. It appears this was done by her own free will.”
The Associated Press is not publishing the woman’s name because of her history and no crime is suspected.