Family of elderly woman found dead talks to KATV

(KATV) Warren - An elderly Bradley County couple took a wrong turn Monday; they were lost and stranded in the woods. Bradley County officials activated the Silver Alert for Charles and Margaret White after the two had been missing since Monday afternoon. They were last seen on 8th Street in Wilmar, AR, with their Australian Sheppard dog.

When searchers found Charles and Margaret White Tuesday morning, Margaret had died of natural causes.

Sad doesn't begin to describe the situation. Tuesday, Charles, 87, was weak, unstable on his feet and heartbroken.

Granddaughter, Deena Cornish smiles, "Go ride around the back roads, that was their favorite thing to do."

Visiting family and going sightseeing has been Charles and Margaret routine since Margaret's health kept her from walking.

Monday they didn't show up to eat dinner with relatives and by 7, their bedtime, it was obvious something was terribly wrong. Deena says, "It was just, where do we look? You go around and around and around just looking to find anything."

Deputies and volunteers helped with the search. Sheriff Rick Anders explains, "The truck they were in, they were trying to cross a little creek and the bumper got hung up. It wouldn't move.It was stuck on an off road about 3/4 of a mile off of Potlatch Road 17."

Margaret, 84, in poor health, with a portable air tank tried to hike but they settled on a logging road surrounded by timber. Deena says, "They were comforting each other. He was keeping her warm. He wrapped her up."

Tuesday morning, Charles walked about half a mile to a dirt road where family found him. Deena remembers yelling, 'Are you ok'. She recalls, "He said, 'I'm ok but I think she is gone'. She was."

Margaret ran out of oxygen, her husband says she went peacefully. "He is going to miss her but he knows she is not struggling breathing, she is not in pain, and she is in heaven."

When asked if the tragedy is like losing a family member, Sheriff Anders replies, "It is because I have known them all my life. I grew up with their kids and they were close with my family."

Chad Gardner is the White's grandson. He says, "Thanks for everybody and for all the help. All the C&L workers, friends, and family. Thank you."

Charles is recovering at home.

The White's were only two miles from home. The funeral is Friday.

The White had their dog with them; it protected the couple from animals.