Update: On October 27, we kept you up to date on one of the more unusual missing-persons cases in recent memory — the search for Taylor Gammel, nineteen, who was said to have left her house while sleepwalking. See our previous coverage below.
Gammel, who lives in Arvada, was eventually found at her uncle's house in Westminster, leading us to wonder "whether she actually vanished while sleepwalking."
Well, she had been. According to an interview with ABC News, she walked in her sleep for an incredible nine miles.
Gammel's sleepwalking is so frequent an occurrence that an alarm has been installed on her bedroom door. But somehow, she managed to leave her house undetected until 6 a.m. on the 27th, when her parents found her missing and alerted police.
A vigorous search throughout the area deployed bloodhounds and a helicopter.
However, Gammel, clad in pajamas and socks, had already covered a lot of territory by then. She finally awoke within sight of a movie theater in Westminster near her uncle's house — a place she recognized, fortunately, or else she would have been even more disoriented than she already was.
Remarkably, the worst thing that happened to Gammel over the course of her journeys was a case of sore feet — understandable given that she wasn't wearing any shoes.
"There are so many things that could have gone wrong or happened," she notes. "I'm really lucky."
No kidding. Here's the ABC report, followed by our previous coverage.
Update, 9:08 a.m. October 27: Moments ago, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office tweeted: "Missing sleepwalker found safe. More details to follow."
Update, 9:55 a.m. October 27: The additional details provided thus far about the search for Taylor Gammel: She was found at her uncle's house in Westminster — which raises questions about whether she actually vanished while sleepwalking in Arvada.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office tweet containing this information concludes: "Inv [investigation] continues."
See our previous coverage below.
Original post, 8:39 a.m. October 27: It's got to be one of the most unusual missing-persons reports we've seen.
A short time ago, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office put out an alert for Taylor Gammel, nineteen, who is thought to have left her home in the Arvada area while sleepwalking.
Gammel's Facebook page notes that she previously attended Faith Christian High School and points out that she's originally from Pensacola, Florida.
Included in the photo gallery is this shot shared by the JCSO:
Along with this image, the sheriff's office posted the following text:
We are in the area of 58th and Eldridge searching for 19-year-old Taylor Gammel. Taylor is a sleepwalker and is believed to have walked away from home early this morning. She is 5'7", 105 lbs, and has brown hair. She is possibly dressed in black sweats and a purple shirt. Please call 911 if you see her.
Sleepwalking is a serious condition, as is made clear by this description from the National Sleep Foundation:
Sleepwalking, formally known as somnambulism, is a behavior disorder that originates during deep sleep and results in walking or performing other complex behaviors while asleep. It is much more common in children than adults and is more likely to occur if a person is sleep deprived. Because a sleepwalker typically remains in deep sleep throughout the episode, he or she may be difficult to awaken and will probably not remember the sleepwalking incident.
Sleepwalking usually involves more than just walking during sleep; it is a series of complex behaviors that are carried out while sleeping, the most obvious of which is walking. Symptoms of sleepwalking disorder range from simply sitting up in bed and looking around, to walking around the room or house, to leaving the house and even driving long distances. It is a common misconception that a sleepwalker should not be awakened. In fact, it can be quite dangerous not to wake a sleepwalker.
The prevalence of sleepwalking in the general population is estimated to be between 1% and 15%. The onset or persistence of sleepwalking in adulthood is common, and is usually not associated with any significant underlying psychiatric or psychological problems. Common triggers for sleepwalking include sleep deprivation, sedative agents (including alcohol), febrile illnesses, and certain medications.
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Again, if you see Gammel, you're encouraged to phone 911 immediately.