Ruth Haley Word found alive

By Larry Judkins

Glenn County Observer

“Haley is alive,” rejoiced her mother, Denise Mitchell, on Monday, Feb. 7.

Ruth Haley Word, then-35, of Willows, vanished without a trace in early January. Just over a month after filing a missing person report, her mother finally heard her voice again.

According to her post on Facebook, Denise Mitchell was sitting at home, wondering what happened to her daughter. “Is she alive? Is she gone? Is she hurt? Is she fighting for her life?”

Then, all of a sudden, she received a random phone call from a man named Rick, who said that he “thinks he has my daughter.” He said the only number that he could get out of her was Mitchell’s.

At first she thought it was a joke. Then she started crying and asked him to let her speak with her daughter.

The first words Mitchell heard were, “Mom?” It was Haley and Mitchell broke down even harder.

According to her mother, Haley sounded distraught, confused, and very tired. Mitchell told her it’s going to be okay, she’s going to be safe now, and she was coming to get her.

According to Mitchell, Rick was a truck driver. He told Mitchell he had just lost his daughter in a situation similar to Word’s, and he couldn’t leave her on the sidewalk so he tried to help her.

The only number he could get from Word was her mother’s. He talked to Mitchell on the phone and told her he was going to take her to his truck.

So he did. He kept Mitchell on the phone with him and her daughter fell asleep.

Mitchell said she didn’t really know what to do, but she headed to Folsom. She also kept in contact with Rick while her daughter slept.

“I got his name, I got a vehicle he was driving, and I got an address,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “I decided to call the police because I didn’t know if Haley would wake up and run.

“I didn’t know this guy and I also didn’t trust anything at this point,” Mitchell wrote. The police were there within three minutes and they made Word stay in custody at the parking lot until Mitchell got there.

The police initially said that Mitchell could take her daughter back to Glenn County, but when Mitchell arrived in Folsom, the police called back and said that Glenn County had contacted them and told Folsom police to take Word into custody and she will be transported to Glenn County on Tuesday.

Mitchell wrote, “I asked if they could just wait because we had just gotten into Folsom.” She wanted to see her daughter, but they said she was already taken into custody.

Looking at the positive side, Mitchell said, “Just knowing that she is alive is a great thing. Thank you, Jesus.

Mitchell added, “I want to thank all of these people and all of the people who love her, and for all they have done for her, all the prayers, all the people looking for her. Everyone, I can’t say the right words.

“But she is alive and I also asked the police if she was refusing to go or resisting. They said no, that she wanted to go.

“So, friends and family, thank you so much for everything.”

Mitchell ended her post as she had begun: “Haley is alive.”

Upon hearing this news, one reader commented, “Now let’s get her help.”

Another wrote, “Please try to get her into a rehab once she is released from custody. Contact Salvation Army and K-Love’s Teen Challenge. (They have rehabs for all ages.)”

On Thursday, Feb. 10, at 9:55 a.m., Word, now 36, was booked into the Glenn County Jail. She was taken into custody at the Sacramento County Jail.

She was booked into the Glenn County Jail on five misdemeanor warrants and one felony warrant. Charges on the misdemeanor warrants were for allegedly disobeying a court order. The felony warrant alleged disobeying a lawful order of the court. Total bail for the six warrants was set at $61,000.