LEESBURG, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – A 74-year-old woman survived for nearly a month by eating granola bars and drinking the backwash of discarded sodas, reports WKMG-TV.
Traute Rankin wandered away from the Leesburg senior center housing complex where she lived, according to daughter Renee Shelley.
Rankin then set up a makeshift camp site in the woods about 30 yards away from a major road and a shopping center.
A WKMG-TV crew found a blanket and plastic bags under a palm tree.
While searchers combed the area and put up fliers all over town, Rankin was surviving on granola bars she had in her purse and was drinking what was left in discarded soda bottles.
“When she couldn’t find anymore of those, she tried to walk to Walmart, but she was so dehydrated, she collapsed before she got there,” Shelley said.
Shelley says her mother suffers from mental health problems that caused her to become frightened and paranoid. “That’s why she left her apartment,” she said.
Rankin is still in the hospital where she is being treated for dehydration and other physical conditions, according to her daughter.
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