Kimberly Pushard, left, and Angela Bussell

The Maine Forest Service has launched an aerial search for two Topsham women who have been missing since Tuesday, according to a department spokesperson.

Jim Britt of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry said Friday it was his “understanding” that a helicopter search was underway.

The aerial search, which began Friday afternoon, is focused on the area around Springfield, a Penobscot County town about 20 miles east of Lincoln, where Kimberly Pushard, 51, and Angela Bussell, 50, were last seen on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m.

Topsham police Chief Marc Hagan said Friday that he was unaware the helicopter search had begun, which he attributed to the difficulty of coordinating with several agencies across the state.

Hagan spent much of Friday morning trying to coordinate with the Warden Service for help, but those planes remained grounded as of Friday afternoon due to continuing snow squalls.

“It’s a matter of time – we need to get to them as soon as possible,” Hagan told reporters at a press conference Friday. “Obviously we had the snowstorm yesterday. The temperatures dropped. The families are very concerned. We’re very concerned.”


Feel-like temperatures across Maine were expected to drop again Friday night into the teens and twenties below zero, according to the National Weather Service in Gray.

Police said Pushard and Bussell, who both have intellectual disabilities, became disoriented on the interstate while traveling to Maine Mall and accidentally drove to Massachusetts Tuesday afternoon. They spent the evening trying to get home, repeatedly asking for directions from family members, the Exeter Dispatch Center and a New Hampshire state trooper.

Family members filed a missing persons report with Topsham police at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, launching the investigation.

Pushard’s cellphone last pinged just after midnight Wednesday near Candia and Raymond, New Hampshire, but their phones have since died.

That led investigators to spend most of Wednesday searching for the women in New Hampshire, only to find out later that day that by 10 a.m. Wednesday the women were actually some 300 miles away at an Irving gas station in Springfield, headed west on Route 6 and still looking for directions home.

Since then, police have searched in vain for timely information about the women’s location.



Security footage from the gas station showed that Pushard did not appear to be in distress, Hagan said. Shortly beforehand, the pair’s vehicle – a red 2012 Jeep Compass with Maine registration 1960VC – had run out of gas along I-95 near Lincoln, but a man who helped them get back on the road and offered them directions home didn’t think to call the police. Hagan attributed the missing women’s relative calm to their intellectual disabilities.

“The people that have all run into them haven’t noted a level of anxiety to the point where they felt it was important to call law enforcement immediately,” he said. “I don’t think they understand the level of danger perhaps they were in.”

In addition to the Forest Service helicopter, patrols from the Warden Service and local law enforcement agencies are keeping an eye out for the women’s vehicle, according to a release from the Maine State Police. The Indian Township Police Department is searching the Topsfield area east of Springfield, which police speculate the women could have confused with Topsham.


Topsham police have pushed for a subpoena to access recent debit card charges that could lead to a more accurate starting point for search efforts. Yet as of Friday afternoon, police were still working off the Springfield lead, which was well over 48 hours old.

Hagan again asked Friday that anyone who comes into contact with Pushard and Bussell to stay with them and call the police rather than offer directions home.

“It’s not the right time to be looking back on how this could have been avoided – we’ll do that later after we find them – but it would have been helpful if somebody had called us,” he said. “Then we would have been able to actually meet up with them and get them safely home.”

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