A statewide search for longtime friends Kimberly Pushard, 51, of Wiscasset, and Angela Bussell, 50, of Brunswick, ended successfully Sunday after authorities located the two women near Nicatous Lake in East Hancock, an unorganized territory in Hancock County.

Kimberly Pushard, left, and Angela Bussell

The women, who went missing Tuesday, have intellectual disabilities and can easily become disoriented, according to family and police. Concerns over their whereabouts escalated with each passing day, but on Sunday the women were found safe.

Nicatous Lake is more than three hours from Topsham and is located north of Ellsworth in a remote northern section of Hancock County. The 5,200 acre lake, which is more than 8 miles long, is one of the state’s largest.

“It is with great pleasure that we announce the successful conclusion to the search for Kimberly Pushard and Angela Bussell,”  Topsham Police Chief Marc Hagan said in a news release issued around 5 p.m. Sunday. “Members of the Maine Warden Service are escorting Ms. Pushard and Bussell to awaiting medical services as this announcement is being posted.”

Topsham police did not indicate the condition of the women, who have had to endure five frigid and snowy nights since they became lost Tuesday on a trip to the Maine Mall in South Portland. Hagan said more information about the women will be released once it becomes available.


Pushard’s older sister, Rhonda Cromwell of Westport Island, said in a telephone interview Sunday night that searchers located Pushard’s red 2012 Jeep Compass in a wooded area near Nicotaus Lake. Cromwell said she has not been told whether the vehicle slid off the road or where the women slept at night.

“All we know now is that they are talking and seemed to be OK. They were being treated at a local hospital,” Cromwell said. Cromwell said she had very few details about their medical conditions.

On Sunday, the Topsham Police Department offered to drive Patsy Pushard – Kimberly and Rhonda’s mother – to Hancock County to pick up Pushard and Bussell, Cromwell said.

“We had a rough week. I’m relieved, but so tired,” Cromwell said.

Attempts to reach Pushard’s mother were unsuccessful Sunday night, but Patsy Pushard told the Press Herald in an interview Saturday that she just wanted her daughter back safely.

“She’s a sweet girl,” her mother said. “She’s so friendly. She loves life. I love her and she loves me.”


The women were last seen around 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Penobscot County town of Springfield buying $25 worth of gas for Pushard’s Jeep. They then headed west on Route 6 toward Lincoln, looking for I-95 South to return home, Topsham police said. Authorities used helicopters and airplanes to search for the women.

Cromwell said her sister, who lives in Wiscasset with her boyfriend, had never driven beyond the Bath, Topsham and Brunswick area although she has been driving for about 30 years.

Cromwell suspects that her sister and Bussell decided to drive to the Maine Mall Tuesday to go bowling, one of Pushard’s favorite activities. The women have been friends for years, with both attending Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham.

Instead of reaching the Maine Mall they wound up in Massachusetts and then spent the evening driving and asking for directions from relatives, a dispatch center and a New Hampshire state trooper. They were last spotted getting gas at Smith’s General Store in Springfield, Maine on Wednesday morning. Pushard’s car was later spotted in Lincoln, Maine. It will have to be towed back to Wiscasset, Cromwell said.

Cromwell said she is looking forward to seeing her “baby sister,” but she doesn’t plan to pressure her into telling her family what transpired.

“I’m sure she will have quite a story to tell. She will tell us when she is ready,” Cromwell said. “When we see her, we’re just going to give her a big hug.”


The search was followed by hundreds of people from across the state. Nearly 700 wrote reactions to the women being found Sunday on the Topsham Police Department’s Facebook page.

“I think our society as it is today really needed this good news. Thank you to all that were involved in this outcome,” one woman wrote.

Another wrote, “They will forever be known to me as Thelma and Louise. What an adventure!”

“So many of us have been worrying and wishing we could help. They’re in good hands now,” a woman wrote.

Staff Writer Bonnie Washuk contributed to this story

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