'I just want my baby girl back,' Topsham mother says as women remain missing
Feb. 25—A helicopter and a plane were in the air Saturday, continuing the search in Penobscot County for two missing women from the Topsham area, police said.
Kimberly Pushard, 51, and Angela Bussell, 50, were last seen at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Penobscot County town of Springfield.
Pushard's car, a 2012 red Jeep Compass, was seen half an hour later outside a Marden's in Lincoln, according to police. Officers say the car was heading south on Route 155 toward Enfield, and that anyone who lives along the route should pay "increased attention" to nearby public and private roads.
The women, who have intellectual disabilities and have been friends for years, intended to visit the Maine Mall on Tuesday. They became disoriented on the interstate and accidentally drove to Massachusetts on Tuesday afternoon.
They spent the evening trying to get home, repeatedly asking for directions from family members, the Exeter dispatch center and a New Hampshire state trooper.
Family members filed a missing persons report with Topsham police at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, and the search was launched.
The pair were last seen Wednesday morning buying $25 worth of gas in Pushard's Jeep, Maine license plate 1960VC. They then headed west on Route 6 toward Lincoln, looking for I-95 south to return home, Topsham police said.
"The Game Warden Service has their plane up, and the Fire Service has their helicopter up," Topsham Police Chief Marc Hagan said late Saturday morning. The plane was in the air for hours.
Authorities estimate that, with $25 worth of gas, the women could be within a 150-mile radius of Springfield, including a forested area where snow fell Thursday. "It's a vast area," Hagan said.
The last time that Kimberly Pushard's mother spoke to her daughter was Tuesday.
"She said she was going out to pick up Angie and go to lunch," Patsy Pushard of Topsham said Saturday. "She never got back.
Her daughter called multiple times Tuesday night. "She was crying. I was crying. She said, 'Mama, I'm so confused.' I said, 'Where are you at?' She said, 'I don't know.'"
Earlier that day, after they ended up in Massachusetts, they got turned around and made their way to New Hampshire, Hagan said.
In New Hampshire, Pushard and Bussell called the Exeter dispatch center, but lost contact during the call. They then contacted New Hampshire State Police, who told them how to get to I-95 north.
By Wednesday, they had driven far off course and were in Penobscot County. "My guess is they stayed on 95 and kept going north until they ran out of gas," Hagan said. "Their phone was dead."
Pushard's cellphone last pinged just after midnight Wednesday near Candia and Raymond, New Hampshire.
Pushard has driven since age 18, but she doesn't drive long distances, her mother said. She typically drives from Wiscasset to Topsham, but no farther.
"She can't go out of Brunswick," Patsy Pushard said. "She doesn't know Portland. She has no sense of direction and she gets all mixed up."
Kimberly Pushard lives in Wiscasset with her boyfriend. Bussell is legally blind and lives in Brunswick, said Patsy Pushard. The two women have been friends for years, and graduated from the same school.
Pushard often goes out to lunch, watches a movie at Smitty's and eats with her parents. "She's a sweet girl," her mother said. "She's so friendly. She loves life. I love her and she loves me."
Patsy Pushard said she's worried and afraid. "I've been crying," she said through tears. "I'm so tired. I'm hoping to get some good news. I just want my baby girl back."
Snow fell all Thursday, accompanied by wind gusts. The wind was so strong that air searches were called off Friday. The searches started up again Saturday.
Game wardens, the Maine Forest Service and local law enforcement were checking roads Saturday. Stores were reviewing cameras to get sightings of the women or the Jeep.
Topsham police are looking to access recent debit card charges that might shed light on the pair's location. Hagan said the women have not used a debit card since Wednesday.
Anyone with information on the women's whereabouts may call 911 or Topsham police at 725-4337.
John Terhune of The Times Record contributed to this report.