FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – A photographer in Williamson County was taking photos last Friday when he made a startling discovery – an elderly woman frozen to the ground.
Keith Sheldon noticed an abandoned car stuck in the ice off Daniel McMahon Lane in Franklin and started snapping photos.
He said he wanted photographs of the snow before everything melted away when he saw the car.
“I was going to come over here and get a picture of the car and the license plate just for the church to have in case they had any questions,” he told News 2.
It was that moment when he noticed something unusual through his lens – an elderly woman lying on the ground in front of the car.
“She was lying right there against that dirt bank and she blended in, [she] had a brown coat on and it looked just like the dirt,” Sheldon recalled.
It was around 9:30 a.m. and the temperature was only around 12 degrees.
The woman was found off Daniel McMahon Lane near Franklin Road.
“I was here at the car, and I was yelling at her, ‘Hello? Can you hear me?’ and I got no response,” the photographer told News 2.
Sheldon said the woman was lying on her side in a fetal position with her hands tucked into her sweater. She was also covering the bottom of her face, signs he said, told him she was very cold.
The woman, 74-year-old Patricia, whose last name News 2 is not releasing to protect her privacy, was alive but disoriented and declined Sheldon’s help.
Sheldon immediately called 911 and stayed with the woman, who is from Bellevue, until paramedics arrived 10 minutes later.
“She was frozen to the ground,” he said. “Whenever we lifted her up, she was frozen to the ground.”
Patricia was transported to Williamson Medical Center where she was treated for hypothermia. She has since been released.
Her family told News 2 Patricia previously suffered a brain injury in an accident years ago. The accident left her with permanent frontal lobe damage.
Patricia’s daughter said her mother did not have the insight to know not to drive to a rural area in ice, and that her mother did not have the cognitive ability to know how to rescue herself once her car got stuck.
Patricia had been missing since Wednesday, Feb. 18. Her family filed a missing person’s report with Metro police the following morning.
On Saturday, Sheldon’s daughter sent a thank you letter to first responders and city leaders in Williamson and Davidson counties.
She wrote, “I am writing to give my family’s heartfelt thanks to the men and women… who helped rescue my mom.”
The letter continued, “I know that law enforcement’s reputation has taken a hit recently, but my faith in greater good and the service of our officers has never wavered.”