UPDATE: Young woman found, alive, after a camper helped save her life
After going missing for almost a full week, a young woman who disappeared in Delta Junction has been found, alive, and returned safely to her family.
Tatyana Ionashku, 23 of Anchorage, made headlines for disappearing following an altercation partially caught on video, in which she crashed her vehicle into a parked car and fled barefoot into the woods.
According to Alaska State Troopers, officers were notified in the early morning hours of Thursday, July 5, that Ionashku was safe at home with her family in Delta Junction.
KTUU first reported the story on July 2, after Ionashku's concerned family and friends reached out to spread the word about her disappearance.
In the trooper report, officials state that they were notified at 3:45 a.m. that Ionashku was safe after she "came upon a man camping on the Gerstle River."
The river is over 20 miles away from the intersection in Delta Junction where Ionashku was last seen. The camper just happened to be in the right place and the right time to intersect with the wilderness-weary young woman. And not only did he find her, he helped her.
"He gave her food and warmed her up before transporting her to her family," troopers reported, after another online dispatch report described her condition as "hypothermic."
The identity of the good Samaritan camper was not released by authorities, but after days of walking through the Delta Junction woods, it's possible that the aid he rendered to Ionashku was potentially life-saving.
One woman is missing and her friends and family are now searching for answers after a bizarre disappearance that has authorities asking for help.
Tatyana Ionashku, 23 of Anchorage, was last seen in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 30. A missing person report was filed the next day, due to the nature of her disappearance.
According to a report filed by Alaska State Troopers, around 3:30 a.m. on June 30, Ionashku was driving in the area of Souhrada Road and Remington Road in Delta Junction.
Ionashku reportedly drove her vehicle into an unoccupied car, and the owner came outside to check on the commotion. When he confronted Ionashku for hitting his car, she fled on foot. That was the last time that she was seen.
"[Ionashku] took her shoes off and ran away, leaving behind her vehicle and purse," AST reported.
Troopers responded to the scene, and along with volunteer searchers with dogs, searched the surrounding perimeter that Ionashku could have reached on foot.
"She takes ownership of her mistakes, it's not like her to ever be missing," said Anastasiya Baletskaya, Ionashku's roommate, who has been distraught over the news of her missing friend.
The mistake Baletskaya is referencing is Ionashku sideswiping the parked car, and possibly being under the influence while doing so. According to friends, Ionashku was seen at a bar before the crash.
"She stopped by the local bar there to get a drink, she drove off from there, and that is where the accident happened," Baletskaya said.
Barefoot, Ionashku was able to reach beyond the perimeter of the official search. This prompted troopers to say that she "may have been picked up by a passing motorist." That's what's gotten her relatives worried.
"There are two sides of what people are speculating. Some people are speculating that she might be hiding, because she's embarrassed about the car incident," Baletskaya said. "But other people are speculating that she's in danger, because from the searching they've done so far, it shows that she could have been picked up by somebody."
As of Tuesday, Ionashku has missed work, and her belongings at the scene of the crash, including her car, are now with her family, leaving them to question how she could be gone for as long as she has been.
Baletskaya said family members have reached out to everyone they know in Delta Junction — a very small community — to ask if they may have given her a ride, or heard anything about Ionashku. So far, they've gotten no results.
"I thought maybe on day 1 that she was hiding out, but it's Tuesday already," Baletskaya said.
In addition to being on foot and without a vehicle, she's also without her purse, which contained her credit cards. Baletskaya said Ionashku had her phone on her, but calling it goes straight to voicemail.
The disappearance of Tatyana Ionashku, the circumstances surrounding how it happened, and the conspicuous events which unfolded when she was last seen all have her loved ones worried, with more questions than answers.
"Tatyana, if you're listening to this, please know that a lot of people are really worried about you," Baletskaya said tearfully. "You have a lot of people that love you and care about you, so please let us know that you're okay."
In addition to her family, troopers are asking for help with the case as well. In their report, they asked anyone with any information regarding Ionashku's whereabouts to contact AST in Delta Junction at 895-4800.