Missing RI native found safe in Nevada

(Photo courtesy of KEYT)

SANTA BARBARA, California (WPRI) — A South Kingstown native reported missing by her family on Sunday has been located.

Eyewitness News spoke with the brother of 23-year-old Dianne Thacher, who said he talked to his sister on the phone at about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office later confirmed Thacher was found safe in her dorm at Sierra Nevada College.

Her family said she had traveled from Nevada to California to meet up with friends from high school, but lost contact Oct. 5. Thacher is a 2010 graduate of The Prout School.

According to the sheriff’s office, Thacher reportedly met a male acquaintance after her vehicle got a flat tire, and her cell phone battery died shortly afterwards. Thacher then stayed with the man for several days at various locations around Santa Barbara County.

When she left to return home, he saw the media coverage of Thacher’s disappearance and contacted the sheriff’s office.

Thacher’s family traveled west Tuesday to assist authorities in their search. Earlier in the day, Thacher’s brother told Eyewitness News he and his family felt helpless staying home.

“Trying to stay positive about everything, but your mind wanders and it’s tough to keep it under control,” said Henry Thacher. “I feel like I should be out there for my sister because she needs me, and we just want her to come back safe.”

The family reported Thacher missing to authorities in both Washoe County, Nevada and Santa Barbara, California. Police said she had been last seen Oct. 6 checking out of her motel room at the Super 8 on the 6000-block of Hollister Avenue. On that same day, her car was found abandoned on the 7600-block of Hollister Avenue with a flat tire and several parking tickets.

According to Google Maps, the distance between the motel and where Thacher’s car was found is 3.5 miles.

Thacher’s phone was not active for the entire week, officials said.

Police said Thacher was not injured, and there was no foul play associated with her disappearance.

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