Mental Patient Leaves Trail of Clothes, Vandalism Across Craighead County Rice Fields

OCTOBER 6, 2006 - Posted at 4:26 p.m. CDT

EGYPT, AR - A woman who was reported missing earlier this week in Georgia has surfaced in western Craighead County...and in a most peculiar manner.

Sheriff Jack McCann says his deputies were dispatched to a rural area near Egypt last night at 9:45 about a car in a ditch.  Upon arrival, deputies ran a computer check on the car's tags and found that it was matched to 46-year-old Lavonia Vasser of the Atlanta area.  McCann says Vasser was considered a missing person in Georgia.

However, she was no where to be found when officers found her car.  So, they set out on a search of adjacent rice fields in an attempt to find the woman, and soon began finding a trail of women's clothing and underwear as they made their way across a field.  The trail of clothes ended when deputies came to a slough, and there was no sign of the woman anywhere.

Authorities eventually called off their search for the evening, fearing the woman may have drowned.  Deputies and rescue workers returned to the scene this morning and began searching the slough for a body when they were informed of a disturbance at a hunting club in the area.  Upon arrival at the hunting club, about five miles away, they discovered Vasser in apparent good health other than a few scratches and abrasions.  However, she had apparently sacked and vandalized the club's property.  She had dressed herself in camo clothing that she found inside the building.

McCann says the woman apparently covered most of the five-mile stretch in the nude, walking across the fields, and swimming the slough as well as the rain-swollen Cache River.  The sheriff said the woman told them she left the Atlanta area in her car, and was "going to Chicago to see Oprah."  He described the woman as a mental patient and said she was being held by the Sheriff's Department until members of her family could arrive from Georgia this afternoon to pick her up.