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68-year-old Butte County woman found after 6 days missing

UPDATE 7:13 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16 - Paula Beth James' daughter spoke with Action News Now about what her mother went through, how she survived without a morsel of food and how she is doing now. 

"She's very thankful," Emmy Powell said. "I don't think she realizes the magnitude of the search and how many people have been looking for her."

Credit: Butte County Sheriff's Office

Powell said her mother had some frostbite on her feet but it has improved.

"She was trying to keep warm and she slept a lot and covered herself with everything in the vehicle," James' daughter further explained. "She was just praying someone would find her."

On how her mother got to the Butte Meadows area, Powell explained she was trying to travel to Chico but got lost and continued to drive. Powell believes it had to do with her cognitive impairment.

With James still in the hospital, her family says she is doing well but it is going to be a slow recovery.

View Powell's full interview above.


UPDATE 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15 - After missing for over five days, 68-year-old Paula Beth James has been found alive, according to the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

Action News Now spoke with Paula James' stepdaughter Billie about Paula's condition, Thursday morning. Billie said Paula is doing good and acting like herself. She's dehydrated and had some frostbite on her hands and feet, but doctors have been treating it, Billie said.

The CHP they deactivated their Silver Alert for James, via Twitter around 12:38 p.m.

Officials were searching by helicopter in the area near Butte Meadows around noon on Wednesday, according to the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

During the search, crews spotted a vehicle that matched the description of the Toyota 4Runner belonging to James, buried in the snow. The vehicle was approximately three miles from the Bambi Inn, in Butte Meadows.

The pilot landed the helicopter and two BCSO employees hiked to the vehicle, which was located 150 yards off the road on Skyway, where James was found alive.

Search and Rescue is on the way with their "Sno Cat," as of 1:02 p.m. The Sno Cat will be used to transport James from the vehicle to the paramedics.

James was taken to Enloe Medical Center and is currently in stable condition, and the Butte County Sheriff's Office said they have no further information on her condition at this time. 

Butte County Sheriff's Deputies, Detectives, Search and Rescue Members and Pilots spent more than 100 hours searching for James, utilizing our helicopter, snowmobiles, CodeRED emergency mass notifications, CodeRED Bulletin Board (833-512-5378), Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA), and a CHP Silver Alert in an effort to locate James.


UPDATE 12:51 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14 - Five days since being seen by her family and this Tuesday, there's still no sign of a missing Butte County woman. 68-year-old Beth James was last seen at her home on Thursday, Jan. 9.

A newly shared map shows roads and areas (in black Sharpie) that the family of Beth James has searched for. The red circle, on the map, shows the area that Butte County Sheriff's Office does not think she could have gone past.

Detectives have obtained bank statements that show James hasn't used any cards since before she went missing. After learning this, detectives said they are focusing on the Magalia area where James' phone last pinged.

However, detectives said have learned that a text message was sent around 8 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 10. They now believe she left the house before that time. The text message was sent to James' sister, who lives out of state.

The sister said the text message seemed normal.

Today, the family and community members will be out searching Paradise Lake since it's the closest body of water where her phone last pinged.

BCSO said they would be flying a helicopter again if weather permits. A new video from the Butte County Sheriff's Office shows teams searching for James from the air over the foothills area on Monday, Jan. 13.


UPDATE 5:25 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12 - The family of Paula Beth James said she lives in Butte Valley. They said the last time her phone pinged was in Magalia.

Daughter Emmy Powell said she visits her mother every day and has not seen her since last Thursday.

This weekend friends and family members were searching for Paula Beth James. At least ten friends went out to search on the Ridge on Sunday.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office is also involved in the search for Paula Beth James. On Sunday Sheriff's Office spokesperson Megan McMann explained what they are doing to help find the missing woman.

McMann said because the missing woman was believed to be traveling in her vehicle, Search & Rescue was not sent out. She explained that without a specific area to search, crews can not be dispatched. The area, she said, is too vast.

Once a vehicle is located, then Search & Rescue can be dispatched, explained McMann. She confirmed that the Sheriff's Office has already searched the woman's normal routes of travel several times.

McMann confirmed that Butte County has a helicopter that has been flying the area where the cell phone pinged in Magalia and will continue to do so, as long as the weather cooperates. She said they also searched on the ground in Magalia in that area. She said the phone is not operating anymore, so they can not ping it again for a location.

McMann confirmed as well that the Butte County Sheriff's Office has sent out a BOLO statewide to law enforcement agencies; a Code Red wireless emergency alert has been sent out, and a missing person alert has been posted on social media.


BUTTE & GLENN COUNTIES, Calif. - CHP has issued a silver alert for a 68-year-old woman who they say is at-risk.

Officials say Paula Beth James was last seen on Thursday, Jan. 9 around 7 p.m. in Oroville.

James is believed to be driving a silver 2018 Toyota 4Runner with a California license plate reading 8FCS521 and could be in the Magalia or Chico area.

Suffering from a medical condition, officials say James may become disoriented.

James is 5'00", 110 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes.

For more info, visit or call 1-833-512-5378.

If you see James, please call 911.

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