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Missing woman who is 'severely disabled' found inside car at tow yard after 9 days

The woman spent nine days in a car in "near freezing weather" after her mother left her inside the vehicle at a gas station and "walked off," according to police.

KENT, Wash. — A woman with disabilities spent nine days inside a car before she was found at a tow yard in Burien.

“We are extremely relieved that we were able to locate and rescue the victim,” Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla said in a statement. “If not for the efforts of our officers and the support of King County Sheriff’s and Fire, this incident would likely have ended in tragedy.”

The 28-year-old woman was last seen Feb. 5 when her 45-year-old mother parked her car at a gas station in Kent and “walked off” with her adult daughter still inside the car, according to the Kent Police Department.

Police said gas station employees eventually had the car towed.

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The missing woman’s sibling contacted Kent police on Feb. 14 to report that they had not seen the woman since earlier in the month. The sibling described the missing woman as severely disabled.

Bonafacio Pauza of Skyway Towing in Burien says a call from Kent police, looking for a missing woman, caused them to double check a 2004 Cadillac they’d towed from a gas station nine days earlier.

“Whoever it was that called us and said ‘please search the car,' they saved her life,” Pauza said.

"We sent one of our drivers out, he unlocks the car and had to go through it. She was laying in the backseat and had a whole bunch of clothes and stuff on top of her,” he continued.

Pauza says it’s common for his company to tow vehicles without getting into them. In this case, his driver looked in the windows and didn’t see anyone.

“She was bad enough that the employee immediately contacted 911 and had the ambulance and the police dispatched out here," Pauza said.

While she was trapped in the car, police said temperatures were “near freezing.”

When King County Fire and King County Sheriff’s deputies found her at the tow yard, the woman was in serious medical condition, according to Kent police. The woman was taken to the hospital for treatment.

KING 5 has reached out to Kent police for an update on the victim’s condition, if anyone is facing charges in the case and whether the victim’s mother has been in contact with police since the incident.

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