How a Garmin helped crews find runner Ashley Laird

Jacksonville, Ore. —  We’re learning new information tonight about how police were directed to Forest Park where Dr. Ashley Laird was located. A search and rescue team member learned she often wore a GPS watch on her runs, but she left it at home on Friday. It was the data on that device that pointed authorities in the right direction.

Ryan Ghelfi is pretty familiar with Garmin GPS technology, not only does he sell the watches, he uses one every day.

“It actually will talk to satellites in order to see how fast you were going,” Ryan Ghelfi of Rogue Valley Runners says, “and then ultimately where you went.”

That technology turned out to be a critical lead in the rescue of Ashley Laird.

“We’d been told previous that she wouldn’t run wooded trails,” Jacksonville PD Chief David Towe told reporters during a press conference Sunday.

With the watch in hand and some help from Garmin over the phone, the sheriff’s office was able to access her previous runs.

“When he was able to tap into that information,” Towe says, “it had shown that she had been in those areas.”

That information led crews to Jackson Creek Reservoir Road, where Laird was found. And though dehydrated and visibly exhausted, she’s expected to make a full recovery thanks in big part to a small piece of technology.

Laird is expected to remain in the hospital overnight. The family plans to hold a news conference later this week.


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