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Woman Dies, Mother Survives Week Stranded in Desert

September 8, 1993

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) _ A mother and daughter who decided to take a shortcut on their way to a new life in California got a flat tire and wound up stranded in the desert. Only the mother lived to tell of the weeklong ordeal.

Hunters found 68-year-old Zora Jacobs on Sunday in Sawmill Canyon in Nevada, just west of the Utah line.

She told authorities she found her 45-year-old daughter, Janet, dead on Thursday near the car, where she had gone to sleep the night before.

An autopsy was to be performed today, but she apparently died of exposure, said Sgt. Elden Adair of the Sheriff’s Department in Lincoln County, Nev.

″We had a U-Haul and the road was so narrow we couldn’t turn around,″ Zora Jacobs said from her hospital bed on Tuesday. ″We had a spare, but we were on an incline. ... We just didn’t have the strength to fix it.″

They had set out from St. George on Aug. 29 for Petaluma, Calif., 40 miles north of San Francisco. The younger Jacobs had a job waiting for her at a restaurant, said Pam Seifert, who worked with her at an eatery in St. George.

Lincoln County Sheriff Dahl Bradfield said the two women apparently had been told they could save two hours by taking a shortcut. But they took a wrong turn onto a dirt trail used by hunters and cattle ranchers.

Temperatures ranged from 70s at night to 90s during the day. They had some canned food, and Janet Jacobs twice walked to a spring a mile or two away two times and broght water back to her mother, Bradfield said.

The mother and daughter had moved to St. George from Las Vegas in March after their home was broken into and both were assaulted. The intruder raped and stabbed Janet Jacobs and broke her leg. Her mother’s pelvis was broken.

Janet Jacobs wasn’t happy in Utah and was looking forward to the move, Seifert said. ″Her mom needed medical attention and they just couldn’t make ends meet here,″ she said.

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