July 6, 2018 11:03:19 AM
Alex Holloway - [email protected]
A regional team of first responders continued a search Friday morning for an Oktibbeha County woman who is missing in southwestern Clay County.
Victoria Hudson, 23, disappeared early Thursday after her car wrecked near Mhoon Valley Road, off Highway 50, authorities say.
Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott said officials began looking for Hudson at about 5 a.m. Thursday, after Hudson had twice called 911 seeking assistance. Hudson's phone lost power at 7:33 a.m. and while authorities found her car, Hudson hasn't been seen or heard from since.
First responders from Clay, Lowndes, Oktibbeha and Noxubee counties searched until dark Thursday, and resumed their efforts at about 6:30 a.m. Friday.
"We're going to work on the assumption she's alive until we are given evidence to the contrary," Scott told media gathered at the scene Friday morning.
Meanwhile, Victoria's mother, Glenda Hudson of Pheba, waits with other family members at a nearby church -- hoping and praying for good news.
"It's difficult to sit here and wait and not be out there looking for her," Glenda said. "But we're going to let the professionals do their job and hope they come back with good results.
"She's a beautiful lady who's a joy to be around," she added. "We're praying that she's healthy and not injured."
Victoria Hudson, a fourth-year student at Ole Miss studying forensic science was reportedly driving from Oxford early Thursday where she was visiting friends.
"It's been pretty tough," said Victoria's cousin, Sabrina Word. "Not much sleeping and a lot of praying. Right now it's just a waiting game."
Oktibbeha County Emergency Management Director Kristen Campanella said responders initially believed Victoria Hudson was in Oktibbeha County. She said Victoria, who contacted law enforcement at about 3:40 a.m. Thursday after the crash, thought she was in the Polly Bell Road area. Victoria called 911 twice, Campanella said, and both times was routed to the Clay County Sheriff's Office before requesting to be transferred to Oktibbeha County.
However, Campanella said coordinates showed that Victoria's cell phone was last active in Clay County.
"We got coordinates from C Spire around 10 (a.m.)," she said. "Coordinates are more reliable than what tower she's pinging off of. By having those, we can narrow it down to exactly where her phone was."
An Oktibbeha sheriff's deputy stayed on the line with Victoria until her phone lost power.
Scott said responders found Victoria's vehicle after a Tennessee Valley Authority helicopter spotted it. He said it was nose down in a creek "way off" the road and appeared to have gone through a gate.
Before authorities arrived, Victoria had "apparently left (the scene) at some point against the advice of 911," Scott added.
Thursday's efforts included aerial searching, including with some drones. Scott said he doesn't know how useful that will be, going forward, due to the terrain.
"There's a lot of timber and gullies," he said. "It's difficult."
Officials ask that anyone with information on Victoria's location contact the Clay County Sheriff's Office at 662-494-2896.
The Dispatch will update this article as more information becomes available.