Community News Death Investigation July 28th Flood KSP Press Release NEWS WEATHER

Search Continues for Missing Breathitt Woman thought to be swept away in July Flooding

(Information from KSP & APPCV reporter Ron Hamblin)

Haddix, KY – January 7th, 2023

Personnel from multiple Kentucky Emergency Management regions participated in a multi-state, joint agency search for Vanessa Baker, the sole missing person from the devastating floods in Eastern Kentucky, in late July 2022.

Saturday’s operations brought together over 160 searchers, covering 1067 acres along the North Fork Kentucky River in Breathitt County. Campbell County KY Office of Emergency Management provided the Campbell County LandSAR’s Mobile Command Post where operations and communication flowed from during the search. Over 170 man-hours from KYEM personnel have been dedicated to this operation since late August from Campbell County alone. This does not include the hours of dedicated from state level coordination and additional county efforts in the region.

Map shows search area since July Flood from River Caney to Haddix Community

KYEM has coordinated efforts with KYTC for aerial drone footage and worked with multiple canine search teams and underwater drone searches, for example. It was an honor to patriciate in this search alongside so many dedicated individuals who carry the same perseverance to bring Vanessa Baker home to her family as we do.

The following agencies participated in the search:
Breathitt Co. EMA

Kentucky State Police

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife

Ky Emergency Management

Cincinnati Police K-9 unit

Campbell County EMA

Scott Co. FD

Richmond FD

Lexington FD

Jackson Co Search and Rescue

Rockcastle County FD

Woodbine FD

Laurel County EMA

Jessamine FD

Redstar EMS/Powell Co EMS

Morgan County SAR

Ky Search Dog Assoc.

Total search members 165 Total of 12 miles searched from River Caney area to Haddix Community.

This map shows area where searchers covered. The red & blue lines are actual directions each team traveled. The searchers may have walked a mile in a particular direction, but as the lines show, they actual walk miles in their specific quadrant.

The search was broken down in to teams who searched quadrants. Each team had GPS trackers that mapped out every step they took in their search. This information was put into a computer to aide organizers with future searches in this case. The maps created help searchers keep from backtracking over areas already searched. According to Jim Cuppy, one of the search coordinators, of the 39 flood victims from the July 2022 flood, the bodies traveled an average of 4-8 miles. So far the search for Vanessa Baker has covered roughly 14 miles from where she is believed to have been swept away.

The search team has used several high tech mapping and equipment to help try to find Vanessa. The amount of area to be covered is incredible and the people involved are to be commended for giving their time to try to Vanessa Baker and give her family some closure.

Appalachian Citizens Voice will have more on this story as it develops.

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