For nearly seven hours on Monday rescue workers searched an area near coal mines in southern St. Clair County near Marissa, trying to find a woman and her young child.
Once Sarah Donley-Foster, 29, and her 2-year-old son were found, police said they were going to start a criminal investigation into what happened. St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Scott Toth said that Donley-Foster and her son were found around 9:15 p.m. Monday. Toth said the mother and child had non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital. He said they were located not far from where they were last seen.
Toth said police wouldn’t have any more comment until they are finished with their investigation.
Workers with multiple agencies were involved in the search to locate Donley-Fortner, who is from the Marissa-Sparta area, and her son. Toth said a family member called emergency dispatch at 2:42 p.m. after seeing Donley-Fortner and her son get in a boat and go across a small body of water to another piece of land.
“Family members said the woman was distraught,” Toth said. “The man who called it in said he saw her go up a hill about 100 yards and into the woods.”
The first six hours of the search were fruitless. Toth said a St. Louis helicopter and an Illinois State Police airplane had been used to try to find the woman and her son.
“There is no sign of her in the woods,” Toth said. “She is probably out of that area. We are using dogs to try to find her now.”
Toth said searchers’ main concern was for the young boy.
Police from Marissa and Sparta have assisted in the search. The FBI was brought in to try to locate Donley-Fortner through her cellphone, Toth said.