Search party locates dog that went missing along with 76-year-old Idaho woman

Connie Johnson, right, and her dog, Ace
Connie Johnson, right, and her dog, Ace Courtesy of Lewiston Tribune

The dog belonging to a 76-year-old Nezperce woman who was last seen at her hunting camp Oct. 2 reportedly turned up at the Moose Creek Ranger Station late Wednesday.

Ace, the border collie who belongs to Connie Johnson, was discovered about 15 miles from the hunting camp where Johnson was last seen in the Fog Mountain area near Big Rock in the Selway River district.

Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings confirmed early today that Ace showed up at a camp where private searchers who had been hired by the Johnson’s family were located.

“They didn’t find the dog; the dog found them,” Giddings said.

Ace was taken to Montana with the searchers, Giddings said, but he was not certain whether the dog might be returned and used to help lead searchers to where Johnson might be.

“There’s a possibility that if we would take the dog back in there he might lead us to where she was,” the sheriff said. “But that’s the only possibility there is. We’ve searched everywhere; we believe she’s in there, we just don’t know where. It’s possible the dog might go back to where she is.”

Johnson, who was working as a camp cook for Richie Outfitters of Salmon, Idaho, had radio contact Oct. 2 with the hunters who had left the camp a day earlier. They were unable to understand her message, according to Giddings.

When the hunters returned Oct. 5 to the camp, which is accessible only by horseback or on foot, Johnson and her dog were not there.

An intense search began involving aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, the Idaho National Guard, the Clearwater County Backcountry Helicopter Rescue team, along with several teams of tracking dogs and searchers on foot.

No trace of Johnson or her dog could be found and the search virtually ended Oct. 16, Giddings said.

It is unclear whether it will resume now that Ace reportedly has been found.

No further information was immediately available.

On the same date that Johnson and her dog went missing, a Maryland filmmaker was also reported missing in the same area. Terrence Woods, 27, was filming a documentary near Penman Mine when he got separated from his film crew.

Idaho County Sheriff’s Office announced a week later that it was calling off the search for Woods, reported.

Sheriff Doug Giddings wasn’t immediately available by phone Thursday morning to comment on whether the searches for Woods or Johnson would resume.

Nicole Blanchard contributed to this report.